Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby

Penguin Books, 2005

Suicide--well, at least an attempt.  The four narrative voices in this novel meet on New Years Eeve as each had planned suicide from the roof of a building.  They don't manage suicide that night.  Instead all four leave together.  The rest of the book tells their stories and the strange relationships that develop over the next few months.

The tale is told with Hornby's usual wry humor and realistic crafting of personalities.  Technically, I have to admire his tale and the ability to twine the four stories together.  There are a few things anchored in British popular culture and language that went over my head.

However,  it's not a book that I ended up enjoying.   It's too close to home.  I've had suicides in my family and among close friends and colleagues.  It's hard for me to read about.  I've had the same response to Jonathan Franzen's book, Freedom.   I don't enjoy reading about my own life.  (At least I'm not a main character from this book--rather one of the family members/associates.)  Others may find this sort of book enlightening or confirming.  I'd rather read something that adds to my knowledge base.  It does have its humorous moments.  But, they did not bring the overall reading experience up out of despair of my own experiences.

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