Monday, October 09, 2006

A LONG WAY DOWN by Nick Hornby

Written as four convincing first-person narratives, in the style of Faulkner's THE SOUND AND THE FURY, Hornby's most recent novel chronicles the lives of four strangers who meet at "Topper's House" in London on New Year's Eve. Each is convinced that s/he will put an end to their miserable existence to ring in the new year.

Jess is a teenaged girl who is lost to herself mostly because of her older sister's disappearance/death. JJ is a wannabe rockstar who broke up with his girlfriend and canned his band. Martin is a middle-aged Dad and former tv host who recently completed a jail term for having been involved with a fifteen-year-old girl. Maureen is a middle-aged woman who is weighed down by the care of her adult son who is confined to a wheelchair and diapers.

A less likely group of folks you won't have met; however, there is something absolutely appealing about each one of these characters as they look mortality in the eye and bite their thumbs at it. A topic that seems dreary and depressing will have you cheering by the time Hornby is finished.

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