After a long hiatus from posting, I’ve just finished Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down, which I can now move from my “to read” pile to my “meh” pile.
I imagine many of you know Nick Hornby from his earlier works, such as High Fidelity and About a Boy. I hadn’t read anything by him, and selected this one because (i) his other works seem to get mad props, and (ii) this one seemed like an interesting concept.
The book is about four people who meet on a rooftop in London on New Year’s Eve, where each of them had gone planning to jump off. I had expected the book to take place on that rooftop, with each person sharing their tales of woe and comparing notes to see who was the worst off, etc. That’s not what happened. The first part takes place on the rooftop, but the story moves on from there and follows the characters’ relationship after they all agree to not commit suicide.
I’ll give Hornby credit for his ability to write this book in the first person, but from the vantage point of four very different people. Each “chapter” is simply titled by the person who is writing it, and his ability with prose allows him to shift gears pretty well so that by a little ways into the book, you can glance at an excerpt and usually tell who’s “writing” it.
But I have to confess I was a little disappointed by the story and the character development. It was just kind of boring. There were opportunities (I thought) to do some really cool stuff, but nothing really materialized for me. As Randy Jackson would say, “It was just a’ight for me, man.”
I’m now halfway through Gary Benchley, Rock Star, and I’m digging it plenty. I’ve purposely avoided reading the DJ’s post on it so that I can read the book and post on it with a clean slate. More to come.