Saturday, 11 September 2010

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby


DATE READ: September 2010

NOTES: Four people all with different problems plan to commit suicide on New Year’s Eve. They meet up accidentally on the roof of a tower block (“Toppers’ Tower”). They are four very different personalities but by the end of the evening they have formed an uneasy alliance and agree to put off killing themselves until Valentine’s Day.

Some genuinely funny and quirky situations arise – all very Hornbyesque! The characters are more or less stereotypes – the disgraced media star, the downtrodden single mum, the failed rock musician and the troubled punk teenager. At times our credibility is stretched as to whether these people would really offer any meaningful support to each other. Three of them are quite likeable – but dare I say they may well have been tempted to push the appalling Jess off the roof!

On a more serious note – what would a family who had lost someone through suicide think of this book? A real would-be suicide inhabits a dark despairing world in which death seems to them to be the only option available.

The various plot threads are all tied up neatly at the end. There are no sweet and sentimental “happy” endings – Hornby did well to avoid this.

A light read – but a dark subject.

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