Wednesday, October 18, 2006

REVIEW: The Long Way Down - Nick Hornby

A second title for this latest Nick Hornby could be Suicide: The Hardway - It's never a good way to do something difficult by doing it as a group which is where the people of the novel go wrong.

Meeting by chance on New Year's Eve on top of a tower block four people have their own reasons for jumping, with varying factors of relevance. Mr Hornby covers a lot of the pop culture references in his group: the celebrity, the carer, the failed rock god and the chav, so from the get-go you're rooting for them just to get on with it and jump.

I won't spoil wether they do or not, suffice to say things happen along the way to drag the book out. Often funny, sometimes melancholy, it's possibly too blase about the subject matter, relying on comedy rather than reality to show people in emotional pain. Imagine a Joss Whedon TV program on suicide and you have the book; full of witticisms at a time when death is steps away, one of the characters even comments that they're talking like they're in a London Soap.

It would be difficult for a book on this subject to show motive if it wasn't in the first person, which is lucky as we read what amounts to four different monolgues, intertwining their story with different perspectives. Bizarrely though, the personalites barely change, with only Jess, being the most extreme, having any sort of different vocabulary and most of that derogatory.

I'd recommend it to fans of Mr Hornby's work but certainly not as a starting point. 3 out of 5

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