Monday, 2nd December 2002, 6:46pm
An opinion by: Johanna

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby is my favourite author so far in my entire reading life. My copy of High Fidelity unfortunately was adorned with the head of some bloke off the movie, but I managed to ignore the automatic movie screen in my head that often appears if you know its been hyped in film, and enjoyed it for what a cool, witty, intelligent thought-provoking book it is.

Most of the thoughts provoked were along the lines of "who do I know who's like that?" and "actually, that's just like a male version of me!" I couldn't help identifying with the characters, and recognising things in poor old Rob, the main character; the way he thinks, little characteristics, his past and his rationale on daily life. You really feel that the narrator's voice is coming from a shabby but cute guy wearing a worn leather jacket and crumpled T-shirt - he's right there on the page talking to you.

Again, like Hornby's more recent (fantastic) novel, About Boy, a classic up-to-date London setting. The essence of the place is clearly autobiographical in origin. And very British, in that the sense of place is very important to the motivation of the characters and the plot. I like Rob because he tells us what he really thinks, in a stream-of-consciousness style, whereas he doesn't often say what he really thinks. The difference between the two make for a very human character, and a funny book, with one part also very magnificently poignant.

Some of Hornby's prose is very poetic, which begs to be read out loud or acted out. The character Rob is battling with his role as a single man in the nineties, and in a similar way to Bridget Jones (the comparison is inevitable but not worth labouring), he despairs at his loneliness and feels glad not to be doing the ‘marriage, family, career' thing. I think Bridget and Rob would hate each other until they found out how similar they were, and then they would really hate each other.

    "They're right in thinking that [monogamy is] a crime where I come from: its against the law because we're all cynics and romantics, sometimes simultaneously, and marriage, with its clichés and its steady low-watt glow, is as welcome to us as garlic is to a vampire."

The new book out is called "How To Be Good." More of this excellent stuff please, Mr Hornby.

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