- Taschenbuch: 272 Seiten
- Verlag: Penguin; Auflage: Open Market edition (3. Juni 2010)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 9780241950234
- ISBN-13: 978-0241950234
- ASIN: 0241950236
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 11,1 x 1,7 x 18,1 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 64 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 107.990 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
A Long Way Down (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 3. Juni 2010
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"This is a brave and absorbing book. It's a thrill to watch a writer as talented as Hornby take on the grimmest of subjects without flinching." -- "Publishers Weekly" -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.
'Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block?' For disgraced TV presenter Martin Sharp the answer's pretty simple: he has, in his own words, 'pissed his life away'. And on New Year's Eve, he's going to end it all...But not, as it happens, alone. Because first single-mum Maureen, then eighteen-year-old Jess and lastly American rock-god JJ turn up and crash Martin's private party. They've stolen his idea - but brought their own reasons. Yet it's hard to jump when you've got an audience queuing impatiently behind you. A few heated words and some slices of cold pizza later and these four strangers are suddenly allies. But is their unlikely friendship a good enough reason to carry on living? -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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On New Year's Eve in North London, four lost souls go to a roof of a particularly famous suicide point called "Topper's House" to leap - only to discover a traffic jam (themselves), and, instead of jumping, end up striking up an uneasy alliance/friendship. ("Even though we had nothing in common beyond that one thing," as the character Martin states at one point.) That's the high-concept opening and theme of this novel, in a nutshell.
The four characters:
MARTIN: a disgraced, morning talk-show host who served time in jail for sleeping with an underage girl. Divorced by his wife, humiliated by the media.
MAUREEN: a middle-aged, self-sacrificing (and long-suffering) single mom whose only son is a virtual vegetable. A Catholic who states (p. 77): "I don't believe in luck as much as punishment." She had sex once, with only one man - which resulted in a child, the cross she had to bear (and could no longer bear).
JESS: a bratty, impulsive, volatile, foul-mouthed rebel teen, daughter of a well-known government official.
JJ: a 30-ish "failed" American musician (leader of the defunct cult band, Big Yellow) - now turned pizza delivery boy. (A character most resembling Rob from High Fidelity)
The novel is told from the point of view of these four characters - that is, in alternating monologues (reminding me of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying).
At one point a significant reference is made to Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, in which the character of Jess suggests the author "killed herself because she couldn't make herself understood."
What's unfolds then, in this novel, is the characters finding the WORDS to their despair.
WHAT I LOVED:
The humor. Given this horribly dark subject matter, Nick Hornby continually finds a way to make his material and situations amusing.
WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE:
Finding this horribly dark subject matter amusing.
Part of the problem with Nick Hornby is that he is a comic novelist in the traditional sense. (As with Shakespeare's comedies, it is the happy ending that defines it as such.)
I kept thinking that this novel might work better as a play or a skit. The opening on the roof is very theatrical, almost like a Samuel Beckett play (full of gallows humor). There rest of the book, essentially, is a series of monologues.
Some people may find A Long Way Down a little shallow, a little contrived and glib, like a TV sitcom run amok. Hornby constantly undermines the seriousness of his subject matter in order to make it bearable; but in doing so he also undermines the weight of it; in a way, he sort of paints himself into a corner from the beginning. The rest of the novel is about Hornby writing himself out of the hole. Give him credit for courage, though.
All the negative aspects aside -- there are A LOT of laugh-out-loud passages in this book; there's enough humor and wit and liveliness for me to recommend it. His writing is still a pleasure to read, his characters full of attitude and intensely likeable, and after The Loser's Club: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez (another recent Amazon favorite of mine), I'm still recommending Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down. Maybe not his best -- High Fidelity still commands that spot -- but still good, a comic novel stretching the limits of what a comic novel should be.
So versammelt er eine íllustre Gruppe an Charakteren, die sich allesamt denselben Zeitpunkt ausgesucht haben, um ihrem Leben ein Ende zu bereiten: am Silvesterabend. Doch damit nicht genug wollen sie auch noch rein zufällig allesamt vom Dach desselben Hauses springen...Aus der Sicht jeder dieser 4 Protagonisten schildert Hornby den weiteren Verlauf, voll von Ironie, bitterbösem Sarkasmus und Wortwitz.
Dabei bildet der erste der drei Teile den wohl besten des Buches. Das darauffolgende Kapitel verliert dann jedoch etwas an Schwung.
Trotzdem ist die Lektüre empfohlen, da man wohl zu diesem Thema kaum ein amüsanteres Buch finden wird...
Ex-Talkmaster and ex-prisoner Martin, mother of a severely handicapped child Maureen, punk who lost sister Jess and failed musician JJ are protagonists as different as can be imagined, and the dynamics between them is breathtaking. Each of them has his/her own individual voice and point of view, and their interactions are lively, sometimes even turbulent. I personally found Maureen and Martin most convincing, but Jess' invention of an angel that looked like Matt Damon made me laugh heartily.
Hornby successfully manages to avoid sentimentality. Instead, there's a lot of humour in his novel, but also a lot of insight and truth about hardships, about the reality of life - the author never ridicules the tragedies of his protagonists' lives. Hornby respects that such hardships are highly subjective, that they often have no easy solutions, but need step-by-step changes to make living with them bearable. As a consequence, "A Long Way Down" doesn't have the over-the-top happy ending of a Sophie Kinsella novel, and this is one of the many merits of "A Long Way Down".
Brilliant and delightful novel. 5 stars.
PS: As audio book, buy unabridged - I cannot imagine what could possibly be left out of "A Long Way Down", every word is so well-placed in the text! A slight drawback of the unabridged audio book: Kate Reading reads both 51-year-old Maureen and 18-year-old Jess, and this is slighly puzzling at first and needs some getting used to - especially as she is spot-on as Maureen but not so convincing as Jess. The men's voices are superb, and it's a great pleasure to listen to the CDs. Highly recommended.
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