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3.3 out of 5 stars191
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 9 May 2011
I'm mystified by some of the ridiculous comments I have read in some customer reviews of this utterly brilliant book. I have read it three times and it is undoubtedly one of the finest, most searching novels I have ever read. It is highly intelligent, entertaining and thought-provoking. The story revolves around four broken characters driven to 'at least thinking seriously about suicide' and the bizarre relationships formed by this troubled motley crew . It is so rare in that it is remarkably engaging from page 1 onwards and contains pretty much no 'yawner' pages.

As an examination of the confusion, dungeon dullness and totally dehumanising aspects of contemporary living it is simply colossal. I love these character for their fagility and collective folly - not despite them.
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on 1 July 2008
Have to confess I'm disappointed with this outing from Nick Hornby. Normally I find the characters quite likeable in his novels, but in this one I found them dull and irritating, and wanted to skip their interventions, which was a problem seeing as they're the narrators of the story itself. The storyline, that of four people gatecrashing each others's suicide bid, is a commendably original one as always from Hornby, but don't be fooled by the blurb on the back of the book. Some of the dialogue between the characters is absolutely dire and I was fed up of reading swear words.

Hornby set a high standard with "About a Boy" and "How to be Good", both excellent books. "A Long Way Down" falls well below it. I hope the next one will be better.
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on 18 May 2005
I really like Nick Hornby and have always found his books light and original. This was just too heavy for me - its starts with 4 people about to top themsleves. The characters are contrasting and I did sort of take to JJ, an American musician. The 4 become a support group to each other postponing their date with death. The topics are all mostly dark - disgrace and despair - mainly channelled through Martin the disgraced breakfast television host ( who spent time in jail). I felt like a councillor sitting with a group of depressed people, although Hornby adds in a few lighter comments that helped me get though. Not one I will re-read. I'm off to either put on my happy songs CD, watch a Peter Kay DVD, re-read a Steve Horsfall or Ben Elton novel.
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on 6 November 2014
Fantastic Book. Hard to put down once you start it. Another Nick Hornby classic.
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on 29 July 2007
A Long Way Down is an apt title: this is a once-talented author in freefall. How To Be Good was simply bad. This is even worse: it is boring. Where is the Nick Hornby who delighted us with High Fidelity and About A Boy? This is Ben Elton-lite, Tony Parsons-lite and worst of all Nick Hornby-lite. Four uninteresting, unsympathetic and frankly dull characters, in a virtually plotless tale of suicide and redemption, totally lacking in the insight, warmth and humour we have come to expect. The concept is clever and original, but the execution goes wrong almost from the start. Martin, Tess, JJ and Maureen should all have jumped in the first chapter and saved us all from this tedious tale. Four novels so far, two excellent ones, two very disappointing ones. It's 2-2 Nick, and heading into extra time. Are you going to surprise us with a late winner?
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on 15 June 2005
I am a big fan of Hornby's previous books (except Fever Pitch) - he is a very funny and sharply observant writer, with poignant and on-the-nose things to say about London. However this book is way off the mark. The characters are not believable - Jess, the nutty teenager is a caricature, probably the one that made me laugh most, but you don't get involved in her plight. JJ, the failed musician, I cared even less about. Maureen, well, that whole part of the book is an insult to the disabled, and Martin, I don't think anyone would have missed him if he had topped himself.
Basically it's difficult to give a damn about any of these characters as they're just not interesting or rounded enough. Noone of them really develops during the course of the story(except maybe Maureen, who gets a lot happier, and deservedly so) and what you'd think would be a moving or at least slightly emotional journey for them isn't at all. OK, some of dialogue is nice and pacey - classic Hornby stuff. But his crackling and snapping isn't there in this one. Avoid.
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on 5 August 2006
i completely disagree with all of the negitive reviews about this book. i read it in the space of a week and found it was the best book iv read in a long while (if not, ever).

yes the characters might be slightly unbelievable, and the story might be a little far fetched, but thats what the book is all about! it is quite heart warming when they start their group just to help keep them sane and stop them jumping off the roof again. yes this book made me feel a little depressed but suicide is a depressing subject and a serious one which i thought nick hornby demonstrated well and in a qute powerful way.

i would recomend this book to anyone and eveyone. 10/10 again for nick hornby
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on 9 November 2012
This story started really well but unfortunately the second half was a bit drawn-out and uneventful, even though the book is quite short. I bought and read the book because, while on holiday in Majorca, I came across the crew making it into a film. This will obviously increase public knowledge of the book and its theme - a number of depressed individuals who had considered ending their own lives. If, like me, you like to read the book before seeing the film, now is the time to buy it.
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VINE VOICEon 30 July 2005
Comes nowhere close to Nick Hornby's finer moments - the story is bizarre, written in a way that makes it somewhat hard to follow and the characters are not particularly easy to either bond or sympathise with. Whereas I have ploughed through all previous Nick Hornby books in next to no time, this one is hard work - I'm finding myself rather watching a repeat on TV than pick up the book, so enough said!
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on 23 May 2016
Loved the multiple layers of thought wrapped up in humour.
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