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High Fidelity ()


Rob Fleming, a 35 year old Londoner, is extremely average, but the story he has to tell is unusually witty & insightful, especially in his assessment of the mysterious relations between men and women:

Read any women's magazine and you'll see the same complaint over and over again: men--those little boys ten or twenty or thirty years on--are hopeless in bed.  They are not interested in 'foreplay'; they have no desire to stimulate the erogenous zones of the oppositre sex; they are selfish, greedy, clumsy, unsophisticated.  These complaints, you can't help feeling, are kind of ironic.  Back then, all we wanted was foreplay, and girls weren't interested.  They didn't want to be touched, caressed, stimulated, aroused; in fact, they used to thump us if we tried.  It's not really surprising, then, that we're not much good at all that.  We spent two or three long and extremely formative years being told very forcibly not even to think about it.  Between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four, foreplay changes from being something that boys want to do and girls don't, to something that women want and men can't be bothered with. ... The perfect match, if you ask me, is between the Cosmo woman and the fourteen-year old boy.

and the cultural importance of pop music:

People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over.  Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands--literally thousands--of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.  The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don't know whether pop music hgas caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they've been listening to the sad songs longer than they've been living the unhappy lives.

and the vital interstices where men and women & music meet, as we see when he asks his girlfriend one of the great questions in the history of the opposing genders:

How can you like Art Garfunkel and Solomon Burke?  It's like saying you support the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The book is filled with this kind of sly, snarky Four Weddings-style humor, perhaps too full.  I found 300 pages of the fundamentally immature Rob to be a tad excessive.  But in the end, when he learns that. "[I]t's not what you like but what you're like", we can't help but feel happy for his triumph. I'm with Wing on this one.

GRADE: A-

Wingnut initially recommended the book:

Just finished - High Fidelity, Nick Hornby.
If you like pop music and have ever had trouble with women, this'll hit a
funny bone (or nerve or both).
I heard he got a shovelload (editor's intervention) of money for the movie rights, but I don't see it
on the big screen.

Grade: A-
 

Charlie Herzog:  I'm not climbing into the boat w/ you and Wing.  I found Rob to be too irritating to really enjoy the book-- and though the musical references and male/female observations were often entertaining, the lack of an interesting narrative overwhelmed their impact.  Self absorbed losers have always bugged me, and Rob certainly qualifies.  I was rooting for the tiger to be let out by about page 150.

GRADE: C-

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A-)

  

Websites:

See also:

Nick Hornby (3 books reviewed)
British (Post War)
Nick Hornby Links:

    -AUTHOR SITE: NickHornby.com (Penguin Books)
    -Nick Hornby (Wikipedia)
    -Nick Hornby (Contemporary Writers, British Arts Council)
    -Nick Hornby (The Guardian)
    -Fever Pitch (Wikipedia)
    -ESSAY: World Cup Soccer: England (Nick Hornby, June 2006, National Geographic)
    -
   
-
   
-
   
-ESSAY: Why parents are angry about autism (Nick Hornby, February 10, 2002, The Observer)
    -PROFILE: Nick Hornby on Dave Eggers (Nick Hornby, February 16, 2003, The Observer)
    -INTERVIEW: Nick Hornby meets Tony Adams (Nick Hornby, September 3, 2000, The Observer)
    -NICK HORNBY (1958-) (The Guardian)
    -AUTHOR SITE: Nick Hornby (Penguin Books)
    -BBC - Books - Author Profile for Nick Hornby
    -Nick Hornby Home Page
    EXCERPT: from How to be Good by Nick Hornby
    -REVIEW: of BLOOD SONG A Silent Ballad. By Eric Drooker (Nick Hornby, NY Times Book Review)
    -INTERVIEW: Tales of ordinary madness: Nick Hornby's book 'Fever Pitch', the best-selling account of being a depressive-obsessive soccer fan, is now a film. (Helen O'Neill, August 16-17 1997, The Australian Magazine)
    -INTERVIEW: Laughing all the way to the cemetery: Nick Hornby has built a career on depression and the things that help him survive - football, music, books. His new novel tells the stories of four would-be suicides, but it's jauntier than ever. Can he really be so miserable? (Simon Hattenstone, April 23, 2005, The Guardian)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Nick Hornby on His New Novel, 'A Long Way Down' (Fresh Air from WHYY, June 15, 2005)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Novelist Nick Hornby's new book, Songbook, contains a collection of essays about Hornby's favorite pop tunes. It includes a meditation on a reggae version of "Puff the Magic Dragon." (Morning Edition, November 14, 2003)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: with Nick Hornby (Terry Gross, Fresh Air)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Novelist Nick Hornby (Fresh Air from WHYY, July 10, 2001)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Writer Nick Hornby: About a Boy (Fresh Air from WHYY, Sept. 26, 1995)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Nick Hornby's Songbook (Michael Goldfarb, 11/11/2003, The Connection)
    -INTERVIEW: LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY!: About a Boy Author Nick Hornby Talks Music -- Then and Now (Barnes & Noble)
    -INTERVIEW: AN INTERVIEW WITH NICK HORNBY: How to be (a) Good (Novelist) (Sara Martin, May/June 2002, Barcelona Review)
    -INTERVIEW: The human factor: Nick Hornby discusses posterity, comedy, and his keenly awaited, compelling new book, How To Be Good (Robert McCrum, May 27, 2001, The Observer)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: with Nick Hornby (Barbara Lane, 03-22-01)
    -INTERVIEW: About Nick's boy: Until now Nick Hornby has said very little about his autistic son. (Matt Seaton, November 8, 2000, The Guardian)
    -Lit Chat with Nick Hornby (Salon)
    -INTERVIEW: About a writer: Nick Hornby talks about soccer, writing and a highly faithful adaptation of "High Fidelity." (Steffan Chirazi, Salon)
    -INTERVIEW: with Nick Hornby (Book Ends)
    -INTERVIEW: Gender Trouble : Patrick McGuigan talks with Nick Hornby about the changing roles of men and women in his new novel How To Be Good (Spike)
    -INTERVIEW: Nick Hornby (Interviewed by Francis Leach, November 1998, Headspace)
    -INTERVIEW: Nick Hornby's Funny Folk-Pop (Dave Weich, Powells.com)
    -CHAT: with Nick Hornby (Washington Post, July 10, 2001)
    -PROFILE: How to Be Great: His recipe: Write fine, best-selling novels, co-found a school for autistic children, and remind England of what it might be (Zadie Smith, 10/11/04, TIME Europe)
    -PROFILE: 'Good' Words: Nick Hornby examines dilemma of rock critics (Gina Arnold, 09/27/01, MetroActive)
    -PROFILE: of Nick Hornby : The good life (STEPHANIE BUNBURY, 06/02/01, The Age)
    -STUDY GUIDE: to About a Boy (Damaris)
    -STUDY GUIDE: to How to Be Good (Caroline Puntis, Damaris)
    -ESSAY: Fever Pitch (Erin Cunning, 03.07.04, Essay Depot)
    -TEACHING RESOURCES: Fever Pitch - Nick Hornby (BritLit, Using literature in the ELT classroom)
    -ARCHIVES: Nick Hornby (McSweeney's)
    -REVIEW: of
   
-REVIEW: of
   
-REVIEW: of
   
-REVIEW: of
   
-REVIEW: of
   
-REVIEW: of
   
-REVIEW: of Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby (CHRISTOPHER CLAREY, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Fever Pitch (Sean Smith, ESPN.com)
    -REVIEW: of High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (Suzanne Moore, The Guardian )
    -REVIEW: of High Fidelity (HEATHER MALLICK, Toronto Sun)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy by Nick Hornby (Tobias Hill, The Observer)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy: (Dan DeLuca for The Philadelphia Inquirer)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy: (Daniel Lyons for Detroit Free-Press)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy (WALTER KIRN, New York Magazine)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy (James Sullivan, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy (HEATHER MALLICK, Toronto Sun)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy (Nick Pollard, Damaris)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy (Michelle Goldberg, MetroActive)
    -REVIEW: of How to Be Good by Nick Hornby (Joe Queenan, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of How to be Good (John Carey, Sunday Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of How to be Good (Tim Adams, The Observer)
    -REVIEW: of How to be Good (Alex Clark, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of How to be Good (Rob Reuteman, Rocky Mountain News)
    -REVIEW: of How to Be Good (Jennifer Howard, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW: of How to be Good (Vicki Woods, Spectator uk)
    -REVIEW: of How to be Good (Pia Nordlinger, National Review)
    -REVIEW: of How to Be Good (Robert Allen Papinchak, Chicago Tribune)
    -REVIEW: of How to Be Good (Laura Miller, Salon)
    -REVIEW: of How to Be Good (Daniel Mendelsohn, New York)
    -REVIEW: of 'How to Be Good (David Kipen, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of How to Be Good (Douglas Levin, The Oregonian)
    -REVIEW: of How to Be Good (Clea Simon, Boston Phoenix)
    -REVIEW: of How to Be Good (Katie Haegele, Flak)
    -REVIEW: of Songbook by Nick Hornby (Dave Weich, Powells.com)
    -REVIEW: of Songbook (GERALD MARZORATI, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of 31 Songs by Nick Hornby (Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of 31 Songs (John Peel, The Observer)
    -REVIEW: of A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (Adam Mars-Jones, The Observer )
    -REVIEW: of A Long Way Down (Joanna Briscoe, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of A Long Way Down (Stephen Amidon, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of A Long Way Down (Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of A Long Way Down (Chris Heath, NY Times Book Review)

FILMS:
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Nick Hornby (Imdb.com)
    -INFO: Fever Pitch (2005) (Imdb.com)
    -INFO: About a Boy (Imdb.com)
    -INFO: High Fidelity (Imdb.com)
    -INFO: Fever Pitch (1997) (Imdb.com)
    -Fever Pitch Articles and Information
    -REVIEW: of Fever Pitch (Katrina Onstad, CBC)
    -INTERVIEW: 'Even if it's your baby, you can't protect it': What's it like having your hugely successful books plundered for Hollywood adaptations? (John Millar, April 19, 2002, The Guardian)
    -ARTICLE: Hornby's unfaithful film wins rave review (Fiachra Gibbons, March 24, 2000, The Guardian)
    -OFFICIAL FILM SITE: About a Boy
    -About a Boy: Special Feature (BBCi)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy (Kenneth Turan, LA Times)
    -REVIEW: of About a Boy (Daniel Eagan , Film Journal)
    -REVIEW: ARCHIVES: reviews of High Fidelity (john-cusack.co.uk)
    -AUDIO REVIEW: of High Fidelity (Bob Mondello, All Things Considered)

Book-related and General Links:
    -INTERVIEW : The human factor  : Nick Hornby discusses posterity, comedy, and his keenly awaited, compelling new book, How To Be Good  (Robert McCrum,  May 27, 2001, The Observer )
    -Lit Chat with Nick Hornby (Salon)
    -INTERVIEW: About a writer: Nick Hornby talks about soccer, writing and a highly faithful adaptation of "High Fidelity." (Steffan Chirazi, Salon)
    -INTERVIEW: (Book Ends)
    -INTERVIEW : Gender Trouble : Patrick McGuigan talks with Nick Hornby about the changing roles of men and women in his new novel How To Be Good (Spike)
    -PROFILE : of Nick Hornby : The good life (STEPHANIE BUNBURY, The Age)
    -ARCHIVES : "Nick Hornby" (booksonline uk)
    -REVIEW: ABOUT A BOY: `High Fidelity' author spins another comic tale `About a Boy' -- and a grown man with an adolescent perspective (Dan DeLuca for The Philadelphia Inquirer)
    -REVIEW: About a Boy: Novel gives free and gleeful rein to immaturity (Daniel Lyons for Detroit Free-Press)
    -REVIEW: Boyish Smarm  : There's wit and good writing aplenty in Nick Hornby's "About a Boy." But the plot is a well-worn homily of emotional growth. (by WALTER KIRN, New York Magazine)
    -REVIEW : of About a Boy by Nick Hornby (James Sullivan, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : of About a Boy (Nick Pollard, Damaris)
    -REVIEW : of Speaking with the Angel by Nick Hornby (Melissa Denes, booksonline uk)
    -REVIEW : of How to be Good by Nick Hornby (John Carey, Sunday Times of London)
    -REVIEW : of How to be Good (Tim Adams, The Observer)
    -REVIEW : of How to be Good (Alex Clark, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW : of How to Be Good by Nick Hornby (Joe Queenan, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of How to be Good (Rob Reuteman, Rocky Mountain News)
    -REVIEW : of How to Be Good (Jennifer Howard, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW : of How to be Good by Nick Hornby (Vicki Woods, Spectator uk)
    -REVIEW : of How to be Good (Pia Nordlinger, National Review)
    -REVIEW : of How to Be Good (Robert Allen Papinchak, Chicago Tribune)
    -REVIEW : of How to Be Good : Sweet revenge : New from Nick Hornby: An Angry Guy morphs into a do-gooder in a scintillating novel by the author of "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy" (Laura Miller, Salon)
    -REVIEW :  of How to Be Good By Nick Hornby  (Daniel Mendelsohn, New York)
    -REVIEW : of 'How to Be Good' By Nick Hornby  (David Kipen, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : of How to Be Good (Douglas Levin, The Oregonian)
    -REVIEW : of How to Be Good : Love and marriage : Nick Hornby's B-side (Clea SImon, Boston Phoenix)

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