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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant, thought-provoking Nick Hornby novel
Thought provoking novel about four strangers who find themselves on the roof of a block of flats on New Years Eve. Rather than jumping from this notorious suicide spot, they all come down and form a sort of informal self-help group as they try to rebuild their lives. The four - a disgraced TV presenter, tragically sad middle-aged single mother who has devoted her life...
Published on 20 July 2006 by Greg Farefield-Rose

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent enough read - but I think he is better than this
Nick Hornby can rightfully claim to be the king of modern day intelligent 'lad-lit' and he deserves immense credit for getting many 30something males reading again.
His first three major works - two superb novels About A Boy and High Fidelity plus Fever Pitch, his touchingly honest account of the male passion for football - put him into a league of his own and...
Published on 27 Jun 2005 by Sam Holliday


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!!, 10 Nov 2006
By 
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Paperback)
I usually love Nick Hornby's books - I have read About A Boy and How To Be Good several times so was really pleased to find that he had released his latest novel. However I found the book really hard to get into - the concept of the four characters meeting on the top of the car park was good but unfortunately the characters were either all unlikable or forgetable. The book lurched about all over the place and certainly wasn't difficult to put down. It felt an anti-climax when I had eventually finished the book and it's not one I would bother to read again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hornby, 18 May 2007
By 
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Paperback)
When How To Be Good was published, much was made of the fact that Hornby has chosen to make his protagonist a woman - the coverage for A Long Way Down seemed to focus much more on the atypical subject matter (suicide and depression) rather than his deployment of four alternating voices throughout his book to explore how four different people reached the point where they wanted to end their lives.

The book sees four very different people on top of a block of flats that also serves as a local suicide spot one New Years Eve. All four stop each other from jumping yet all feel that they have very real problems that they cannot solve, at least not on their own. From this point, Hornby moves through the development of the characters lives from this point onwards and explores the common bond that ties them all together.

Hornby has drawn his characters expertly and it is difficult not to empathise with them. The book is also shot through with his normal humorous observations and this could be the funniest book about depression ever written. This is not to say that the book makes light of suicide - indeed, it is a beautiful exploration of what remains a real taboo within society.

A Long Way Down is not a book of perfect happy endings, but like How To Be Good suggests glimmers of hope at the end of the book. This book has reaffirmed Hornby's status of one of the best writers the UK currently has to offer.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time to move on, Nick?, 3 Feb 2006
By 
G. L. Haggett "glynlhaggett" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Hardcover)
Abiding by his now familiar mantra of "write about what you know", Nick Hornby uses his favourite North London territory as the backdrop for a humorous but hard-hitting examination of the plight of four would-be suicides, variously damaged and battered by life, who come together one New Year's Eve at "Toppers' House", a notorious suicide venue.
The book considers their more or less uneasy relationship over the following months as they attempt to come to terms with the respective problems life has dealt them.
A tale of the lukewarm milk of human kindness and of how genuinely well-intentioned attempts to communicate often end up succeeding only in failing to communicate at all, the book shows much of the chutzpah, drive and flair we have come to expect from Nick Hornby. Once again, he uses his customary footballing and musical tropes to paint in the background; this time, however, it all seems a little too contrived and off-pat.
I bow to nobody in my admiration for "Fever Pitch", the only caveat being that it gave rise to a stream of very poor imitation memoirs by writers not in the same league as Hornby.
As far as his fiction is concerned, however, I have begun to feel that he has now written the same perfectly inoffensive, enjoyably competent novel over and over again.
Is it perhaps time for him to spread his literary wings and try to do something completely different?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Topping Great Chuckle, 25 Feb 2008
By 
Mr. John Frank Herbert (Greenwich, London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Hardcover)
When four people decide to commit suicide by jumping off the Toppers building on New Years Eve, you get the most unlikliest mix of people you could ever imagine.
And what follows is the constant up-to-the-moment viewpoint from all four jumpees, right the way through the book.

And it's an absolute HOOT!!!

I loved it: nonsensical and silly in parts, heart-rending in others, but all in all a great fun-read. And yet there's a serious message underneath it all - but why trouble yourself with it? - just enjoy the banter and the togetherness - I couldn't wait to get back to it - it just brings a smile to your face.
Enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Long Way Down - Review, 9 May 2009
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Paperback)
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby is a book about four, very different, unhappy people who meet on New Year's Eve on the roof of `Topper's House' in London and they have all decided that they are going to kill themselves, no matter what.
The main characters are not likeable, but I think this adds to the honesty of the book, as one is a disgraced TV presenter, one has a severely disabled son, one has been dumped by her boyfriend and one wants to die but he has no real reason why. They all convince each other to come down off the roof and sort their problems out. Nobody really likes each other, but they all seem to care whether that person lives or dies and so they begin a very dysfunctional relationship which will take them to the real reason that they are unhappy and the real reason why killing themselves is not the answer.
It is a desperately sad book, but at the same time it is rather comic and funny. I liked it quite alot although I don't think it is one of Nick Hornby's best as I preferred Slam, which I think was much more realistic, but if you are looking for a good read and are ages 13-18 then this is one to look out for.
Thanks for reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A dissapointing read, 10 Sep 2007
By 
L. Thompson (Lincoln, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Paperback)
This is the first Nick Hornby book I've read, and it's fair to say that it probably wasn't the best place to start. I've heard good things about the author before but this book infuriated me far too much. I did have a few laugh out loud moments, but not as many as I hoped, and while the premise had the potential for some great observations on the bleaker side of human nature it was largely wasted. The use of 4 seperate first person naratives just managed to annoy me as did the plain stupidy of the characters. Maybe it allows for more humour but I just found myself having no care for their outcomes and therefore the ending of the book.
From reading some truly great novels over the last few years you realise its a poor writing to continously state the obvious, but in this book it's common place, so much so that I felt I was being talked down to. Maybe I'm missing the point slightly, but if Hornby adopts a similar writing style for all his novels then in future he's an author I'm going to stay clear of.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Was I reading a different book?, 19 Jan 2006
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Paperback)
I finished this book yesterday, and I'm not seething that Nick Hornby's standards have slipped, or that the characters had no depth. For sake of argument, the only character you could say had no depth was JJ, but the adverse effect does not outweigh the good.
I loved this book. It made me laugh out loud in some places, and the beginning is particularly entertaining.
Whilst I appreciate that one character is somewhat under-nourished in its depth, there are three others that have been very well developed, and it does not impinge on the goodness of this book.
It's an easy reader and in parts hilarious, if you find other people's frustrations funny. Which I do, very much.
By the by, the troubled "youf" is written impeccably, especially when you consider that the author has left that part of his life in the dust. I have a friend who is scaringly like this character, and some of her "qualities" bear resemblance to my own, I might add.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unusual plot, but too random to be liked, 8 Jan 2009
By 
O. Cheng (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Paperback)
Unusual plot, good storytelling from Nick Hornby considering the four key characters are so random and different. The four main characters narrate the story in turn which really helped me to understand the characters.

Nevertheless, it was an unsatisfactory read. The underlying plot is just too weak. Four strangers who attempted suisde on new year's eve somehow become friends? Hmm... not convincing at all. Besides, it's so difficult to relate to any of the characters. Character portrayal is poor. None of the characters stood out for me. In fact, all four characters came across to me as odd and boring. Sometimes characters who may be odd and boring in its own right could form wonderful chemistry between themselves and form great reads, but it did not happen in this case sadly.

Disappointing read, but I won't write off Nick Hornby because even with a book like this, he still manages to demonstrate his superb storytelling ability.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 7 Jan 2007
By 
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Paperback)
This is the first Hornby novel I have read, and I must say it was a brilliant start. The idea behind it was inspired and really makes it stand apart purely as it is such a novel concept. I found the whole story highly entertaining (an unexpected suprise since the subject-matter is suicide)and it maintained a good story and sense of pace throughout. Although the characters were a little annoying at times, they all had their good and bad points which actually makes them seem more human- after all, who doesn't have flaws? I thought it was excellent throughout and came to a very satisfying and fitting conclusion.

A brilliant and original idea which Hornby managed to pull off. For anyone else who is new to his work I would definitely recommend it as a first read. I expect I will go on to read more of his work in the very near future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars psychologically acute, 29 Jan 2011
By 
Cole Davis (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Long Way Down (Audio CD)
Four very different people find each other at the top of a tall building, each intending to jump. Psychologically acute with excellent characterisation, this was readable and valuable.
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