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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Close-Reading of the Self, Sparkling With Wit
Nick Hornby's HIGH FIDELITY opens with a list that most teenage males and men have made variations of in their own lives: their five most memorable break-ups. Before we even know where this list is going to lead, we know protagonist Rob Fleming is going to be a guy after many of our hearts. He is the kind of guy that pays extremely close attention to his relationships...
Published on 23 Dec 1999 by oh_pete

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Love+music+sex=High Fidelity.
'High Fidelity'is objectively a well-written story.Actually the author,Nick Hornby,succeeds in catching the reader's attention by telling a very simple but daring story.Even if it starts slowly,step bystep it takes off thanks to the ability of Hornby.The reader is enruptured by Hornby's realistic,essential and hilarious prose.
Love,music and sex are the three poles...
Published on 3 Aug 2001


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Close-Reading of the Self, Sparkling With Wit, 23 Dec 1999
By 
oh_pete (Cambridge. MA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: High Fidelity (Paperback)
Nick Hornby's HIGH FIDELITY opens with a list that most teenage males and men have made variations of in their own lives: their five most memorable break-ups. Before we even know where this list is going to lead, we know protagonist Rob Fleming is going to be a guy after many of our hearts. He is the kind of guy that pays extremely close attention to his relationships with women, is always looking for that "perfect" girlfriend (in the sense of perfect for him), and if pressed just a bit, could readily produce the names of every girl that ever deigned to kiss him romantically on the lips. Not that this is a good thing, but it's just something we can do, kind of like being able to rattle off the last ten NCAA basketball champions. Self-obsessed? Sure. Identifiable? Like the sun in the sky.
Rob is a 35-year-old North London record shop owner who never recovered from the toughest of those five break-ups--the one that stunned him right out of college. He knows his chosen musical genres obsessively, but no longer quite as obsessively as his employees, the overbearing Barry and timid Dick. The shop and his music, however, seem to make up Rob's whole world, and he is not comfortable outside them. Nor is he happy with himself outside of a monogamous relationship. So why (consciously or not) does he always sabotage them? Following Rob as he seeks the answer to this question can be hilarious and sad and rejuvenating.
Hornby's prose is consistently keen of wit and often raucously funny. Because there's just so much literature out there I want to experience, I almost never re-read books. I read HIGH FIDELITY twice in six weeks--Nick Hornby taught me how silly I was.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick Hornby is my Hero!, 21 July 2004
By 
Ms. A. Mclauchlan "MCAnna" (Stoke, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: High Fidelity (Paperback)
This book is so 'human', not muddled by all the pretensions of the commercial world. This book tells a story of, well, to be honest a rather sad man, it explains WHY men, (and women), can be the way they are. Be that neurotic and anally retentive about their record collection or something more serious. (IS there anything more serious??? The character in this book wouldn't think so!) High Fidelity is full of comedy, although occasionally a little dark, and is a fantastic read all the way! I finished this book begrudgingly, turning the last few pages slower and taking every word in like a slow deep breath - when you don't want it to end it must be a good! Highly recommended to those ladies who don't understand their boyfriends and would like to, and recommended to absolutely anybody else who like s a bit of truth in their books!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 15 Feb 2005
By 
D. M. York (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: High Fidelity (Paperback)
I was quite uncertain when I was deciding whether to buy High Fidelity, given that from the other reviews that I had read it was a book that had been either loved or hated by the reviewers. I took a chance as I loved the film, but usually the book holds much more and goes much deeper. I am so glad I took a chance with this book.
The first statement that I have to make is that it usually takes me a while to read through my books, I am just a naturally slow reader. Though with High Fidelity I read it from cover to cover in the space of a week. In terms of sheer enjoyment and accessibility, I would put High Fidelity as one of my top five books!
The story focuses around a thirty-something Londoner who I find to represent the male stereotype of the grown man living as a child - somebody who has yet to get over the emotional predilections of a sixteen-year-old. Rob is a character who has devoted his life to the study/criticism of music; perhaps accidentally he had grown to be somebody whose life has run into a dead-end. The story begins as he is dumped by his girlfriend, throwing an already bleak life into further disarray.
Throughout reading this I have found several sections where I have been able to relate to his paranoia and worries, things that all seem to have some bearing, however limited, on the modern man. Overall, this is a story that deals with the worries that many people can relate to - rejection, loss of motivation, isolation, as well as questioning what it is that really attracts us to each other. All of which is told through a highly humorous and casual medium which makes what could be construed as a heavy subject quite simple and easy to relate to. There is a large amount of music and popular culture wrapped up in the body of the story, although I don't think that its necessary to know about the music that Rob cites nor the films he refers to.
I loved this book - if you want something that can make you giggle and laugh, yet understand and make you think - but this right now!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Pick up a copy? -- Here's why:, 12 Nov 2006
This review is from: High Fidelity (Paperback)
Someone else mentioned that the first 32 pages alone were worth the price of the book -- and that reviewer is correct! This novel starts off beautifully: the tone of the narrator is wounded, possibly because he's reeling and in shock from the recent departure of his girlfriend, Laura. What we have is the narrator trying to come to grips with the situation, tabulate how truly hurt he is, weighing this "dumping" to former dumpings by past girlfriends, starting from the first girl he ever kissed.

I just love the tone; the guy is really hurting (and we've all been there). It's this tone I think that gives such clarity to his confessional. Anyway, following this "resume of relationship trauma," we follow as the narrator goes on to deal with his life and disappointments. As a record shop owner, he's considered an "underachiever," a loser by some. His ex is a lawyer, hence the dilemma. (The double standard is that a man can be a lawyer and have a girlfriend with a simple job and everything's fine; BUT if the woman partner is the lawyer -- then HE should at least be equally as "successful"?! Well, this smacks of reality. In the eyes of society, he needs to "grow up." Many of us reading it will feel differently, perhaps.) This book is really an accurate portrayal of the male psyche, and it delves into many of the anxieties and fears that men suffer. But Hornby knows how to mix humor with the moments of soul-searching, so it doesn't become a drag. In the end, this book is really a great romantic comedy. Certainly, one of the most honest, insightful, and funniest accounts of guy/gal relationships I've come across since reading The Losers Club by Richard Perez. Definitely don't hesitate to pick up a copy!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why 'High Fidelity' is in the Top 5 novels of All Time, 24 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: High Fidelity (Paperback)
High Fidelity shows the reader as much about the male perspective as Briget Jones did for the female. This is not to say that there are men who are exactly like Rob in the novel, but there are a great many who obviously share at least one of his characteristics.
The title in itself tells the reader what to expect from the novel. 'Hi fidelity' - a term used in music and also as a way to indicate his 'fidelity' to Laura and how, even when the possibility of a continuing relationship looks dim, they will always come back to each other.
Described like this 'High Fidelity' may seem an impenetrable mish-mash of social/gender/romantic commentary, but the dry wit and the 'reality' of the characters - especially Barry and Dick - make this book laugh out loud funny and perhaps at some stages tears rolling down cheeks funny. The character of Rob is sometimes too realistic. More than once a burning desire is felt to pick him up by the scruff of his leather jacket and try to remove by force the immense chip on his shoulder. But this only serves to show how good Hornby is at presenting his characters. Just as you want to shout at Bridget Jones, so you want to shout at Rob Flemming, and tell him exactly what your all-time top-5 novels are. This one would certainly be up there with the greats.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and comical reality check on relationships., 14 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: High Fidelity (Paperback)
This book was recommended to me by my fiance because it thought it would help me understand him, and I have to admit, it opened a window to the actions of some men through the eyes of the narative character, Rob, that I can relate to having witnessed, as I found myself comparing the book with reality to find similarities that were laughable to think about. To start, the self-pitying Rob takes a look his misfortunes with women from as early back as his school days, even as a member of the opposite sex, I felt able to relate to his experiences because everyone, myself included, will have at some point been like him, or known someone like him. As the book progresses, his actions in the present day also seem familiar as I can imagine his some-what cynical, and unintentionally comical presentation of events happenening to people I know. For example, when he realises that women are just like men because they too keep their 'best pants' for when they're going out first time with a bloke, but move in together and the 'faded M&S specials start appearing on the radiator'.
I would recommend this book to anyone, as it offers men a chance to realise that they are not alone in their suffering of the female of the species, and women a chance to relate to and appreciate the more vulnerable of males, and perhaps even understand them? (or attempt to feel sorry for them)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my top five!!, 23 Mar 2012
By 
This review is from: High Fidelity (Penguin Ink) (Paperback)
Over the years I have bought about half a dozen copies of "High Fidelity" and given them all away to friends with the exhortation to "...read this, it's just wonderful"! Sadly none of my friends ever seem to find the same sense of unadulterated joy in Hornby's prose as I do.

My current copy came from a charity shop and has a small sticker on the back saying "50p - Good", obviously intended as a comment on the physical condition of the book, but which I mistakenly took to be a critical review. I still recall my embarrassment on marching to the desk demanding to know why it didn't say "excellent"!

The blurb inside the front cover starts with a quote from the Guardian: "The most frequent response to High Fidelity is `Oh God, I know people just like that'..." Well it's true; I do - me. Whenever I re-read the novel, which has been every couple of years, I find myself wincing with painful self-recognition. Right down to the obsessive list making (each new diary of mine used to start with a list of my top ten albums, novels and movies so that I could compare the lists back to previous years).

Hornby is such an astute writer, with a real gift for comedy. If you regard "Fever Pitch" as a memoir then amazingly "High Fidelity" is his debut novel and it is astonishing. I know all the jokes yet still find myself reading with an inane grin on my face, when I'm not laughing uncontrollably - not a book to read on a quiet train. In Rob Fleming he has created a totally believable and fatally flawed human being, and I still find myself rooting for him from the bottom of my heart.

Hornby's authorial voice is conversational with an immediacy that makes you feel as though he had written a confessional just for you alone. His dialogue is an object lesson in authenticity for any aspiring writer; effortlessly fluent and compulsively readable. It certainly makes its way into my list of my top five favourite novels, year on year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THROUGH THE NOTES OF MUSIC, A STORY OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, 8 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: High Fidelity (Hardcover)
RITA BENEDETTI From University of PISA-Italy
"HIGH FIDELITY" by Nick Hornby A book review
In "High fidelity" by Nick Hornby, the presence and importance of music is comparable to the soundtrack in a film. In fact music is not only a job for the 35-year--old Robert, owner of a record shop in London, but as himself says "a whole world sometimes more loving than the world I live in". Besides , songs accompany him in every moment of his life and mirror his thoughts and feelings better than words. Apart from music, love and friendship also play an important role in this book. Initially Rob makes a mess of his life because he is insecure, confused and sometimes immature. When the story begins Rob and his girlfriend Laura have just split up, but many past experiences have affected him negatively. Even his friendship with Dick and Barry, the young employers in his shop, is cold because he is not able to confide in them. In the end Robert understands what really matters in his life and he becomes more mature and self-aware. The style is colloquial, brilliant and ironic thanks to Rob's witty remarks. The book is a first person narration, so that the reader is more involved in the story and can identify with the protagonist. This is exactly what happened to me! A MUST READ!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original and the best!, 23 July 2001
This review is from: High Fidelity (Paperback)
I came to this book in the wrong order, having seen the film first. I had always been slightly suspicious of of Nick Hornby as part of the trashy novel genre that has been proliferate in recent years, but the film made me see I might be wrong. So I bought the book, and ended up reading it in one night. It is fabulous, surpasses the film and best of all, has originality. How refreshing to read a book which doesn't simply marry everyone off at the end, whilst avoiding being depressing. It's not so much the ending, as how it gets there, and the best passages are the bits that close chapters, full of truths about modern life. Hornby has an awful lot to answer for, he and Helen Fielding between them being the fore founders of the terrible excuse for 'literature' (In the loosest sense of the word) which has begun appearing in supermarkets, but in truth, it is simply because these authors do not have the talent to emulate them. This is the original and the best, and I can't reccomend it highly enough. Within a fortnight of reading it, I bought (and read) the entire works of Nick Hornby. Buy this book. And if you really want to understand where it is coming from, read Fever Pitch as well.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Gooners Required !, 31 Aug 2006
This review is from: High Fidelity (Paperback)
"High Fidelity" is Nick Hornby's first novel and was first published in 1995. It was later adapted for the big screen and starred John Cusak, Jack Black and Lisa Bonet. (The film was set in Chicago, though, rather than London).

The story is told by Rob Fleming, the thirty-something owner of a record shop called "Championship Vinyl". The shop, he claims, specialises in catering for the `serious' record collector - unfortunately, if sales are anything to go by, there aren't too many serious record collectors left. He is a bit of a trainspotter when it comes to music and his own record collection - which he tends to reorganise in times of emotional stress. His staff consists of the somewhat obnoxious Barry and the slightly nerdy Dick (one of the book's more likeable characters). Barry thinks and talks largely in lists - his top five Dustin Hoffman movies or the top ten albums made by blind musicians, for example - and it's a trait that Rob seems to have picked up to a degree. As the book opens, Rob has just been dumped by his girlfriend and he begins with his top five dumpings. (Rob has always, it seems, been the dumpee, rather than the dumper). Laura, the girlfriend who provided him with his most recent dumping, doesn't make the list.

The book sees Rob trying to work through his post-dumping traumas. He knows he hasn't been innocent and blameless, but that doesn't make the split any easier to deal with. The highs and lows include Marie LaSalle (an American folk-country singer on a small independent label and the focus of a post-breakup crush) and a phone call from one of Laura's friends, who mentions that she doesn't think much of `this Ian guy'. Unfortunately, Rob hadn't known anything about `this Ian guy'. It's something that sends him into a horrible `what-does-it-all-mean' routine that sees him attempting to contact the five women on his top five dumping list.

One of the professional reviewers that sometimes gets blurbed - Elizabeth Young, from the Guardian - mentioned that "the most frequent response to High Fidelity is `Oh God, I know people just like that!'." She's not too far off the mark - at times (though thankfully, not all the time) the person I knew who was just like that...was me. While it may make you squirm at times, it is also a very funny book and is absolutely recommended.
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