- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 14 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Penguin Books Limited
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 6 Feb. 2014
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00HVSABFI
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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A Long Way Down Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Where to begin ? I guess as a novel it simply doesn't convince. The opening scene feels like a device to bring four fairly uninteresting characters together so that we can observe their developing but deeply unlikely relationship. (In this it reminded me of Ian McEwan's Enduring Love, another book I cast aside with relief, whose balloon opening smacked of some kind of five finger exercise.). The book feels tired too - the characters themselves paper thin, the dialogue unconvincing, the set pieces both flat and desperate (the trip to Spain ? Do me a favour...), the plot development negligible, the once charming, now tiresomely predictable references to the Hornby musical yardstick against which all characters must be validated... The mechanics of using perspectives from all four characters just felt clumsy, robbed the book of forward momentum and made it hard to engage properly with any of them, but maybe it was easier to fill the pages that way - a supermarket trolley with four wonky wheels was the image that came to mind. Or a kind of Jacqueline Wilson for grownups, with its ishoo-driven plot and its shouty dialogues and its grimy backdrops. In passing, wheelchair users get frequent roll-on parts in her books too, but are rarely treated so dismissively or patronisingly as Hornby treats Matty (and indeed Maureen) here.Read more ›
Most of us know little about depression and the various forms it can take. It is thus too easy to lose patience with those so afflicted - which I am afraid I did here with three of the characters. Young Jess is obnoxious. JJ and Martin wallow in self-pity - American JJ pining for his girlfriend and his former band; Martin, ex-Breakfast TV presenter, now a pariah after conviction for under-age sex.
Eclipsing everything is the plight of drained, fifty one year old Maureen - she paying a heavy price for the only sex in her life. It resulted in severely handicapped son Matty, at present nineteen. He requires 24/7 care and, despite all her attention, has never even been aware of her. Theirs is truly a heartrending tragedy, Maureen to linger in my mind long after the others are forgotten.
Surprisingly there is much humour, which helps to alleviate. Overall, though, many may find the novel too bleak - its characters only able to survive by clutching at straws.
The state of Matty prompts deep thought about what represents life and when best to call a halt. This is probably not what the book intended but, for me, has been the result.
Martin, Jess, JJ and Margaret, 3 of them Brits and one American all meet on this fateful night. The night they choose to end their life. New Years Eve, the night of new beginnings is the evening they chose. Each of them has a good reason, or at least they think it is at the time. Well thought out, well, no, but thought out anyway. Toppers House, the roof, a tall building, well known as the place for suicide. If you are going to end your life don't you want to do it where the "in" crowd goes for their suicides? Margaret, the lonely, middle-aged woman who has had sex only once in her life, and begat a son so disabled that he knows not who or what she is. Margaret takes a bus and then walks to Topper House after she sends her son to the nursing home for the evening. She observes, Martin over by the edge of the roof. Martin, the ever tanned, ex-morning TV star who has messed up his life royally. He had an affair with a 15 year old, served time, lost his marriage and his children, what is there to live for? Soon, into this mix comes Jesse. She, of the wise-cracking, young adult, filled with many alcoholic drinks looking for her lost love. The love that she dated once and slept with once, and who left her after that date. JJ opens the roof door bringing a pizza for an inhabitant of the building. He joins the group. He is an ex-rock star in a failed band, with a failed relationship.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not read it yet but bought as I love Nick Hornby's writing and also I've seen the film which I loved. Expecting to love the book also :)Published 5 months ago by Hazyhaze
Funnily enough, this is my second suicide related book of the year. This one has a very different feel to the first. Read morePublished 14 months ago by nigel p bird
miserableness , didn't find the writing rescued it but probably just didn't like the subject or characters. Never felt much hope for it as I was reading it eitherPublished 16 months ago by H McNestry