Sunday, July 27, 2008

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (Riverhead Books 1995)

Now, she works for a City law firm (hence, I guess, the restaurants and the expensive suits and the disappearance of the spiky haircut and a previously unrevealed taste for weary sarcasm) not because she underwent any kind of political conversion, but because she was made redundant and couldn't find any legal aid work. She had to take a job that paid about forty-five grand a year because she couldn't find one that paid under twenty; she said that this was all you need to know about Thatcherism, and I suppose she had a point.


Jon said...

Is there any mid 30's male on the planet who has read this and not identified with the character at least a little. It is quite frankly one of the top all time best books I have read.

Great blog...keep up the good work.

JC said...

mid 30s????

anyone from 29 years old and upwards!!!!

The film wasnt too bad either....

And what did come first - the music or the misery????

Darren said...


cheers for the kind words. The blog's on a low light at the moment, but maybe I will eventually get back to some genuine blogging in the near future. ;-)

I read the books years ago when it first came out in paperback in Britain - 96/97? - and in recent years I've been more conversant with the film. (My wife has it on DVD . . . it's always being shown on cable.)

Therefore, it was a real surprise (and pleasure) to reread the book after all these years. I'd forgotten how much of the film's script had been directly lifted from the dialogue in the book.

All these recent years I'd convinced myself that Jack Black's Barry was basically 90% genius improv and it turns out all the great lines from the film were already there on the printed page. I'm not trying to take anything away from Black's performance but it was a nice reminder what a funny writer Hornby is.

It does beg the question how did it take four writers to adapt the book into a screenplay? Did one of them read aloud from the novel whilst the other three were transcribing the dialogue onto a fresh sheet of paper? Strange one. ;-)

I guess the main difference with the book and the film is the sheer scale of Cusack's record shop in the film in comparison with the grottiness of Rob's shop in the book. Championship Vinyl looked liked a cool place to hang out in in Chicago. I'm sure that wouldn't have been the case with its Holloway counterpart. ;-)

Totally agree with you and JC's suggestion that blokes of a certain age consider the book is really about them. At one point, I'd turned to my wife and said, 'Christ, whatever you do, don't read pages 212 -216. You'll think that's bloody me.'

Of course she turned to those pages as soon as I put the book down.


"And what did come first - the music or the misery??"

I feel in love with the Smiths when I was about 12 . . . so it must have been the misery. ;-)

Kara said...

Actually, it was 262-266 - and yes, quite accurate. ;-)