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on 28 May 2009
Very good read with bits that will make you laugh till you cry. At times it seems not much is happening plot wise but the writing is quirky enough to overcome this. I would recommend this to any man.
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on 28 February 2001
I am studying english in a distance course and we choose this novel to find out more about life today in Britain, instead of reading Austen or Shakespeare. Beeing a middle aged man myself I felt a pity for Rob, the main character, and hope he is not a typical example of his sex and age. On the other hand I must admit I recognized many of the thoughts of Rob, and almost felt ashamed for doing so. I think it is a very cleverly written book, and I realized that for the first time in many years I read a novel that was about a person in my age, with my mall of reference concerning music, films and books. I am a musician and musicteacher, and I am very impressed by Hornby's way of writing about that: he really knows what he is talking about!
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on 6 October 2009
I bought this with Streakers and loved them both, but felt compelled to come on here and give High Fidelity the big thumbs up! I love music and this is music, life and laughs to the max! Buy it!
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on 5 March 2001
A tiny record shop located in the suburbs of London is the place in which Rob, the main character of the book, spends his days with his two employees: the shy Dick and the peevish Barry.
They share an obsessive passion for music and an unaccustomed and superficial way of communicating by classifying anything that comes up in their lives in top-five lists. But Rob's life messes up when his long-time girlfriend Laura broke with him because of his immaturity and unreliability, making him feel miserable even he didn't know exactly his feelings for her. He realizes he has an unsatisfactory professional and personal life, so he starts to examine his behaviour in-depth trying "to sort himself out"
It's an ironic and thought-provoking analysis of a frustrated man prey to 1.000 questions and to his am biguous and illogical reasoning concerning his unlucky relationship with the opposite sex. He is, in fact, self-aware that he is incapable of control: "I f eel like a pillock, but I couldn't stop myself. I never can "
By using a straightforward and colloquial style, the author establishes a direct relation with the reader and succeeds in revealing the most hidden fears and thoughts which anyone, but especially men, can feel but would never admit in public.
The reader is involved in the descriptions that arouse affections and pity in him but may sometimes feel irritated by Rob's childish mistakes and contradictions.
A bitter-sweet, extremely funny book that will make you spend pleasant hours...
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on 26 March 2004
Rob Fleming, the narrator of HIGH FIDELITY, is a bit of a loser who runs a failing record shop in London and is attempting to sort out his feelings for his girlfriend, Laura, who is about to dump him when the book begins, for a guy who used to live upstairs from them and regale them with the sounds of his sexual exploits through the thin walls. Rob is aware he's a loser, and attributes it largely to being dumped by Charlie Nicholson, who appears on the very first page of the book as #4 on his list of five all-time worst breakups. This is the best possible introduction the reader can have to Rob, who is a compulsive list-maker, along with his slacker employees at the record shop, Dick and Barry. They spend their copious free time making lists as diverse as "Top Five Films of All Time" and "Top Five Songs About Death." These guys judge people by their musical tastes and, to a lesser extent, what films they like, and they're cruelly and immediately dismissive of anyone who doesn't make the cut. When Laura does dump Rob, he's almost accidentally pushed to take a long hard look at his life as he finds himself first dating a folk singer, then looking up the five women who dumped him in the past to try to achieve some sort of bizarre closure.
Most of us know someone like Rob, a guy arrested in adolescence with a huge record collection he obsessively catalogues and re-catalogues (first chronologically, then alphabetically, then finally, triumphantly, in the order in which he purchased each item). This guy never finished school, doesn't own a suit and doesn't seem have much of a future. Rob, however, is vaguely aware that this is an unsatisfactory state of affairs and that if he wants to get back together with Laura, it might have to change, and this makes him an endearing character in spite of himself. Sure, sometimes he acts like an "arsehole", but he admits it, and Hornby's unflinching look at what makes guys do the stupid things they do is both illuminating and affirming. (We all suspected there was a subconscious method to the overt madness.)
Hornby's style is immediate, articulate and hilariously funny throughout. The first-person, present-tense narrative puts readers in Rob's head with all its self-doubt, arrogance and confusion. When he screws up, you flinch and laugh embarrassedly; when he stands up for himself and does the right thing, you want to cheer. A great book! Another (shorter) novel I enjoyed was THE LOSERS CLUB by Richard Perez
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on 15 July 1999
In High Fidelity Nick Hornby offers the reader an accessall areas pass to the workings of Rob Fleming's mind. And being as we are, we head straight for the VIP lounge, where the topics of conversation are invariably relationships and Top Five, best or worst, "whatevers" of all time.
Rob works in his own second hand record shop with a couple of social misfits who are united by their obsessive interest in non-classical music - that and the fact that they are all (self-consciously) male, living in the 1990's, single (initially) and seemingly going nowhere with their lives.
Rob, who narrates this novel in the first person, has just been dumped in favour of his former upstairs neighbour. This ignites within him a neurotic sense of sexual failure, and sends him back to delve in to the archives of his adolescent, sexual awakenings.
Hornby's characters are both believable and complementary, whilst his uncomplicated style makes for effortless reading. Right from the start I cared about the characters and how this chapter in their lives would finally unfold.
It is said that the way to paint a great watercolour is to make it look as though one has just thrown the paint down casually and let it flow around the paper, untempered. In actual fact, the artist has probably spent a good deal of time, making sketches, deciding upon the composition, calculating the perspective, agonising over the colour balance and, finally, gently caressing the paint around the paper to achieve the desired effect. In "High Fidelity" Nick Hornby writes as I would like to paint in watercolour.
The real test, though, is whether "High Fidelity" would feature in my Top Ten best novels of all time? It probably wouldn't, but it might feature in my Top Five humorous, contemporary novels of all time.
Finally, I must add that, given the author's footballing affiliations, I complement this novel grudgingly - but then as Rob himself concludes, "it's not what you like but what you're like that's important.".
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on 14 March 2012
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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on 8 February 2000
TIZIANA NOCCIOLI From University of Pisa-Italy
"HIGH FIDELITY" by Nick Hornby A book review
In "High fidelity" Nick Hornby discusses three central themes: LOVE, SEX and FRIENDSHIP. Although he deals with a very serious matter he uses a joking , original and poignant wit, which makesthis book ironic and, at the same time,sweet and wise. The main character, Robert is a 30-year-old record store owner, who has just been left by his girlfriend Laura. He goes through a period of crisis, in which his fears and insecurity in love overcome him and wreck his life. This experience, which is probably common to many young men like Rob , is portrayed by the author in a true-to-life and funny way, through sharp dialogues and an involving narration. Rob has to admit his immaturity to change his life completely, but his growth is possible thanks to the friendship with Dick and Barry, the two employers in his record shop. At first, they seem almost incompatible with Rob, but they slowly become intimate friends. Barry, in particular, wins Rob's admiration with the success as a singer in his band "Barrytown". An original feature of "High fidelity" is the presence of a "soundtrack" an excellent music theme, that accompanies Rob's thoughts and the events in the story. This feature makes the book a MUST READ, which no music "snob" can be without. A BRILLIANT BOOK!
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on 9 March 2004
High Fidelity book is about Rob, who splitting up from his girlfriend starts thinking about his previous relationships, "the ones that really hurt". He believes himself to be hard done by in all of his relationships and doesn't accept any blame for them ending. The book follows Rob, as he tries to carry on with his life, running his record store (which is in financial trouble), but he can't stop thinking about why it is that he is continually dumped on.
The novel is for both the old and young alike, touching on subject matter that both will be very faniliar with: the rules of attraction. I think that High Fidelity is aimed more towards the male audience, as it is from a male point of view, though i know girls who have really enjoyed reading it. The book has the ability to make you love and hate Rob throughout, because he doesn't really understand what it is that he wants. Overall I think that anyone who has felt cheated by love should read this book, it will make you feel much better as you laugh at Rob's struggles, and it might change your point of view on the matter.
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on 20 March 2001
A Great read! Excelent ending and very amusing in parts. I'd definetly recommend this book to a friend. I haven't seen the film but I sure it doesn't compare to this.
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