Thursday, 1 October 2009

High Fidelity - Nick Hornby

High Fidelity is my favourite book. The novel follows thirty-something protagonist Rob, a London record shop owner who has just split up with his girlfriend.

Rob is something of an snob when it comes to music taste and he spends much of life compiling all-time top five lists. The story unfolds as Rob takes us through his all-time top five break ups, and begins to get in contact with the featuring women as he attempts to understand why he keeps being rejected.

Hornby manages to put down on paper the way in which male minds work, with his witty observations of Rob's neuroses.

The book is funny too with much of the comic relief being provided by two characters that work in Rob's shop who have diametrically opposed personalities. Barry is brash and over confident while Dick is nervous, timid and shy. All three characters are equally elitist about music and this sets things up for some laugh out loud moments. I also particularly enjoy the section when Rob tells the reader his tips for making a great compilation tape and the many rules involved.

I have read quite a few of Hornby's books, and they are uniformly good reads. High Fidelity discusses similar themes to a lot of his books: love, relationships, obsession and flawed characters. Hornby often writes about his own passions, such as football in Fever Pitch, and in this case, pop music.

I love the book so much because I relate to Rob, despite him being an unlikeable character, and as a quote on the cover says, "High Fidelity is like a great pop record... it makes you feel young and grown up all  at the same time".

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