High Fidelity

High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby, an extract:

I see a woman on her own, Saturday -night-smart, off to meet somebody somewhere, friends, or a lover. And when I was living with [the ex] Laura, I missed… what? Maybe I missed somebody travelling on a bus or tube or cab, going out of their way, to meet me, maybe dressed up a little, maybe wearing more make-up than usual, maybe even slightly nervous; when I was younger, the knowledge that I was responsible for any of this, even the bus ride, made me feel pathetically grateful.

Hot damn. The ‘I’ here is ostensibly Rob, a 35 year old who has just broken up and is taking it a little badly. Something about this passage did more than strike a chord, though – it’s an insight into the male condition, in many ways, when it comes to dealing with the fairer sex.

This book is fairly brilliant, by the by, though I’d recommend it to single and/or recently seperated guys first before all others. I’ve gone out and gotten the film too, but from the opening moments I was disappointed to find the story was transposed to New York. It somehow fits better in London, or perhaps that’s my own familiarity with London taking precedence.

In any case, worth a read.

4 responses to “High Fidelity”

  1. I would suppose that all men would find something in common with such situations…whether they’re in a relationship or not.

  2. no denying, but the reason why I said I’d recommend it to singles first is because it’s worth a read for single guys, if only to recongise that inner sadness singles carry around is hardly unique =)

  3. I really enjoyed High Fidelity too. I’m glad you said that passage struck a chord, it seemed very believable to me based on the men i’ve known. The central male character is simply very believable (I presume it’s semi-authobiographical). When I was younger I liked some on Nick Earls’ earlier works for that same reason.

    It’s odd, in quite a few books I identify with the central male character, and yet find the female characters to be quite one-dimensional. Though it’s very rare that I read a book or see a movie where the woman acts anything like any girl i’ve ever been close friends with.

    I think Aaron Sorkin (creator and writer of the West Wing) is one of the few men (or women for that matter) who write female characters that I actually identify with. I can’t help but feel his ex-wife or a sister is a lady very similar person to myself.

    Let’s stop this tangent and get back to the original point I wanted to make: I think women also feel the whole “Maybe I missed somebody travelling on a bus or tube or cab, going out of their way, to meet me.”

  4. Yeah, I’ve got the same feeling – that Hornby’s written this after similar events. I suppose it makes it easier to bring to life on the page.

    I also find that the female characters of some authors are very one dimensional, but then I tend to read a lot of science fiction/fantasy and that is, if not to be expected, certainly not surprising given typical authors and typical audience.

    I’d recommend reading the Stephanie Plum series though, by Janet Evanovich – I think the first is One For the Money – as it’s a nice bit of humour x mystery with a reasonably well constructed central character (although the characterisation gets fleshed out more and more as the series goes on).

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