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on 28 July 2017
“High Fidelity” is a dialogue-heavy “stream-of-consciousness”-style novel, rendering the angst of a man confronting, despite himself, the approach of middle age. It has a humorous tone.

Perhaps this novel has become its own cliché over the last twenty-two years, but I found it still to be enjoyable and thought-provoking. I suppose this is the archetypal “lad-lit” novel, yet it should appeal to both genders.

Part of me would like to see a reprise with the protagonist (Rob) now approaching his sixties. But that would be to miss the point of the well-crafted ending. Also, there’s probably less of a market for “ageing-git lit”, and Richard Ford, for example, has that buttoned down already with his enjoyable Frank Bascombe novels.

My Kindle version has a dozen or so typos (mainly missing quotation marks at the start or end of passages of dialogue), but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment.
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on 18 April 2017
Brilliantly written, sweeping along at such a pace - a delightfully funny, easy to follow read if you can keep up!
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on 30 May 2017
Great service and great value.
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on 26 May 2017
Very enjoyable
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on 22 June 2017
A great book! a lot of fun
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on 12 February 2008
Im not too sure about this novel, its starts off very well, creating an interesting narrative, styled in a unique Hornby way. I just felt that it tailed off markedley as you went on through. I can see why many people like it, but not why they love it. Definately a decent book for a light read or a commute, but for serious reading im not sure it offers enough. In relation to some of his other books, it is much better than "A Long Way Down", but doesnt really hold a candle to the excellent "About a Boy"
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on 11 July 2013
Wow I'm amazed this book has had such good reviews and used to be so popular. Seriously boring, I would lose interest half way through each page and my mind would go blank. It had potential but it just didn't push to get there. There's an awful lot of analysing a blokes boring thoughts and very little action. And the conversations between characters were so dull I wasn't remotely interested in what the next person said. I didn't laugh, cry, cringe, get excited not once.
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on 18 February 2014
High Fidelity was semi-entertaining all the way through; the prose was humorous without trying too hard (same goes for the dialogue); and the plot--not that there is much of a plot--kept me interested until the end. The book had a few funny parts, too, plus some cute one-liners every now and then, and in general was a good read. It's not an amazing book or one I'd run around recommending, but it wasn't bad--or, worse, boring.

It's the story of (some guy, I forget his name), who owns a failing record shop, and has just split up with his girlfriend and is now dealing with real life--or something. I can't really remember. I read it a few weeks ago and only started writing this now. I think the main character was having a mid-life crisis or something. He becomes obsessed with winning back his ex, even though he cheated on her when she was pregnant, and even though he probably doesn't love her that much anyway. Or maybe he does. Maybe that's real love, at least in this author's world.

And that's the part that bugged me about this book: the reality aspect. That might sound dumb, but it bugged me that the main character was so real, so completely arrogant and shallow and useless. He was a d***; a likeable d***, but still a d***. And it irritated me that the love story was without any real romance or fanfare or climax. The book showed the mundane, predictable routine of life and relationships. It showed the boring, unromantic side of love; the smelly breath, pyjamas and unshaved legs of love. I hated that. I like conceptualised love. I like to read fake fantasy love -- maybe because I distrust and hate actual love in real life (the pain, torture and unhappiness of it all), which I guess made me relate to the main character, but I didn't want to like him or empathise or understand him, although on some level I guess I did. I read fiction to escape that side of life, not be dragged right back into it. Then again--it was good, it was different.

It makes a change, I suppose.

I'm not even sure what my opinion is now.

Either way, this is readable but nothing groundbreaking.
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Meet Rob Fleming, "a whole load of averageness into one compact frame", now in his mid thirties but trapped in adolescence. Laura has left him, prompting much angst added to by memories of teenage romances that ended in grief.

Rob is one of life's losers with few experiences that elevate (amongst them Marie La Salle, his "bonkus mirabilis"). Otherwise it is downhill all the way - record shop failing, acquaintances barely tolerated, a local with clientele "either terrifying or unconscious".

Nick Hornby's first novel is a wincingly entertaining read - recollections perhaps triggered in readers of similar sheer awfulness destined to provoke shudders right up to the grave. Great fun - especially in the record shop with assistants taciturn Dick and garrulous, list-obsessed Barry. A particular treat for record buffs. Rob has an encyclopedic knowledge of decades of singles, views forever interesting and devastatingly pungent.

An appealing hero for whom we care - he hopefully nearing a stepping stone towards a sort of maturity.

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Nick Hornby gives music and romance a philosophical spin in "High Fidelity," the funny, rueful book about men, music, and modern love. While occasionally his lead character's "top five" lists can be a little annoying, this is a charmingly original, wry and thoughtful novel - an offbeat romance for our time.

Rob owns a little music shop in London, which is a good thing because he is musically obsessed -- pop music, he claims, makes him fall in love. But even pop music can't heal his heart when his longtime girlfriend Laura breaks up and moves out. What's worse, Rob has no idea WHY she broke up with him, and he feels mixed feelings about losing her (he cares about her) and her musical tastes (bad).

He immerses himself in his rickety business with his weirdo employees -- these guys alone are worth checking out the book for. He dates a folk singer. He learns that Laura is now involved with the repulsive guy upstairs. And finally, he assesses his past sex life and romances (the top five, specifically), getting a bit of insight into what Laura's problem with him might be: He's stuck in his mid-teens.

Thirty-five is kind of old to start growing up. But like many real people, Rob learns that it's change or die -- in his case, alone and surrounded by records. "High Fidelity" is a nice blend of musical/movie memoir, love story and belated-coming-of-age tale. It's kind of geeky and pokes fun at itself, but therein lies its charm.

Hornby writes a nice, breezy kind of prose, peppered with plenty of pop culture and musical references. Not to mention the top five lists: Top Five Episodes of Cheers. Best Side One Track Ones Of All Time. Top Five Bands or Musicians Who Will Have To Be Shot Come the Musical Revolution. At times the pop culture name-dropping gets a bit tiresome, but it mostly underlines how quirky and mildly obsessive Rob can be.

And oh, he can be quirky. He can also be a self-centered jerk, and a bit confused and clueless to boot. Hornby's alter ego is likable for his flaws, and somehow manages to shed a little light on how men think. Good backup comes in his clerks Barry and Dick, who are just as geekily eccentric about music and lists as Rob is.

Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity" is an excellent slice of lad-lit -- it's quirky, wry, insightful, and a bit obsessed with good music. Definitely a must-read.
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