In his eagerly awaited fourth novel, New York Times-bestselling author Nick Hornby mines the
hearts and psyches of four lost souls who connect just when they've
reached the end of the line.
Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on
New Year's Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage
girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter
one another on the roof of Topper's House, a London destination famous
as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.
In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a
story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice,
circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections
made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.
Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving,
A Long Way Down
is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.
A Long Way Down is told from the points of view of four very different people who meet on the roof of a London building each planning to commit suicide. From this dubious beginning they form a most unlikely friendship which we see develop from their alternating points of view over 3 months.
This is one of those books that you're either going to love or hate. Take for example, the 4 big pre-publication reviewers: Publishers Weekly and Booklist give starred reviews and Kirkus Reviews describes it as "well-executed and thoughtful", but Library Journal slams it as "surprisingly tedious" and a "slip-up". Read the excerpt at BookBrowse to decide if this is likely to be a good choice for you. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Library Journal - Heather McCormack
...a surprisingly tedious read...Each character takes turns narrating, a device that only exacerbates the group's sour chemistry....there are flashes of Hornby's talent for the tragicomic in Martin (an aging male in a youth-obsessed world), but overall, this is a slip-up.
With the exception of a perfunctory subplot about the pact's brief time in the media spotlight, this is a well-executed and thoughtful tale that never digs too deep and simultaneously doesn't denigrate the seriousness of its characters' dilemmas. Highly moving and lively storytelling: Hornby's gifts become more apparent with each outing.
Starred Review. If Camus had written a grown-up version of The Breakfast Club, the result might have had more than a little in common with Hornby's grimly comic, oddly moving fourth novel....It's a thrill to watch a writer as talented as Hornby take on the grimmest of subjects without flinching, and somehow make it funny and surprising at the same time.
Booklist - Joanne Wilkinson
Starred Review. The true revelation of this funny and moving novel is its realistic, all-too-human characters, who stumble frequently, moving along their redemptive path only by increments.
The Guardian - Joanna Briscoe
A good novel struggling to find a way out of the limitations of its own gimmick, but ultimately the conceit is so off-beam that one can almost ignore it and flow with the farce. This is an enjoyably readable, bumpy ride of a book, paradoxically both dangerously contrived and genuinely moving.
The Sunday Times - Helen Dunmore
Hornby's droll, dry, elegantly timed riffs on such things as the function of soullessness in chain cafes are a pleasure. So, too, is the fact that he is extending his fictional range. Although A Long Way Down is not an evenly successful novel, it justifies Hornby's decision to write about that misery which we have no need to beg or borrow, and which makes such strong, strange connections between one desperate soul and the next.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Sara =) I am new at reviewing books, but I really liked this book. I was thrilled when the characters came out and said something like, "You may think me and Maureen end up married; that would be a happy ending. I am sorry to say, though, this does not... Read More
Nick Hornby is the author of
How to Be Good, High Fidelity,
About a Boy and A Long Way Down,
and of the memoir Fever Pitch. He is
also the author of Songbook, a
finalist for a National Book Critics Circle
Award, and editor of the short-story
Speaking with the Angel. He is the
recipient of the American Academy of Arts
and Letters E. M. Forster Award, and the
Orange Word International Writers London
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