Friday, December 28, 2007

Book #50 A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

I really, really enjoyed Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down. The premise is right up my alley: four strangers all head to the same rooftop to commit suicide on New Year's Eve. Each has their own reason, and they start to talk. The novel bounces between all four of their points of view, and Hornby did an incredible job creating four distinct personalities.

There was some very grim humor, things that no one would ever be allowed to say or do in "real life," but the whole novel has this surreal quality to it, no doubt based on the impossibility of its premise, so it works. Mixed in with the grim humor are some touches of very profound thought and several moments of sadness that took my breath away. At the end of part two, right when the reader is wondering "okay, what's going to happen in part three that hasn't happened already?" something does happen and it cast a whole different look on the characters. The moment is Reality, something that actually would happen in life, and contrasted against the farce of the overall situation it becomes a tragedy.

I would read a book featuring each of these characters individually--they were all strong enough to have earned their own novel--and I'll miss them. So much so, I think, that I may need to read the book again at some point. I have several friends who are not Hornby fans but I would definitely suggest this book to them anyway. I can't speak for his other novels, but he hit the human condition pretty aptly in this one.

And, hey, this is book 50! Go me!

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