Wednesday, February 6, 2013

high fidelity

High Fidelity is the 1995 novel by Nick Hornby on which the John Cusack movie of the same name was based. I'd seen the movie, but hadn't read the book. I found my copy at the public library book sale, and based on my previous experience* with Nick Hornby (and the movie), I decided to give it a go.

It was a good choice.

Rob Fleming owns a record store in London, which specializes in certain types of collectable, mostly vinyl records. Rob and his two employees are music snobs, with very particular tastes in music, and frankly, can't believe what other people listen to. They might follow you out on to the street to explain why the record you just asked for is not only not available in their store, but why you shouldn't be asking for it in the first place. Or ever listening to it again.

Rob brings this vigor to the over-analyzing he's been subjecting his personal relationships to, for years, and listening to him explain why he hasn't been able to commit makes for some of the funniest and thoughtful dialog I've read on the subject. Rob isn't a sad-sack, neurotic, he is a high-functioning, self-centered tool. And the funny thing is: Rob kind of knows it. One gets the feeling that a part of him may even wish he could change it; be a better man.

There is a fair share of Englishisms that always send me a little around the corner. I have no idea what 'naff' means Nick, give me a chance here. Throw me a bone. But no, I have to look it up. Its not so bad, I guess I learned something new, right?

If you enjoyed the movie, you probably should read the book. If you haven't seen the movie, the book may be even better.

In either case: Read this book

* The other Nick Hornby book I read was A Long Way Down. Not my favorite. It was a little depressing if I remember correctly, but funny in places, and well written.

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