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A Long Way Down | [Nick Hornby]

A Long Way Down

In his eagerly awaited fourth novel, New York Times best-selling author Nick Hornby mines the hearts and psyches of four lost souls who connect just when they've reached the end of the line.
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Publisher's Summary

In his eagerly awaited fourth novel, New York Times best-selling author Nick Hornby mines the hearts and psyches of four lost souls who connect just when they've reached the end of the line.

Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year's Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper's House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.

In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.

Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, A Long Way Down is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.

©2005 Nick Hornby; (P)2005 Penguin Audio and Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The true revelation of this funny and moving novel is its realistic, all-too-human characters, who stumble frequently, moving along their redemptive path only by increments." (Booklist)
"This is a brave and absorbing book. It's a thrill to watch a writer as talented as Hornby take on the grimmest of subjects without flinching, and somehow make it funny and surprising at the same time." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (882 )
5 star
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3.9 (235 )
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4.2 (236 )
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Julia's aunt Lincoln, NE, US 04-11-06
    Julia's aunt Lincoln, NE, US 04-11-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Seems made for audio format"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is told first-person by four separate -- and extremely different -- characters. The narrator voices for each character really added to my enjoyment of the story. If you like language and the differences between American and British English, then you will enjoy this very funny yet poignant book. It got to a point where the words "Sorry Maureen" were enough to make me laugh.

    One reviewer commented that s/he kept waiting for an epiphany and never found one. I have to disagree. Each character had several epiphanies throughout the story, but the author didn't hit us over the head with them. The changes and insights they experienced were subtle and very enjoyable to experience with them.

    At one point in the book, one of the main characters starts a conversation with someone because he sees her reading Bel Canto (a real book by Ann Patchett). As I thought about it, there are many similarities between that book -- which I loved -- and this one. Both novels start with an unlikely grouping of characters who are confronted with a life-threatening situation and, over the course of the story, grow to understand and appreciate each other and the world they live in. Highly recommended, but it's more appropriate for fans of Jane Austen than Tom Clancy.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meredith Philadelphia, PA, USA 08-26-05
    Meredith Philadelphia, PA, USA 08-26-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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    "wonderful recording"

    I can't imagine reading this book now that I have listened to it with all of the wonderful narrators- a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The multi-voice recording really brought the story to life, not to mention the fact that the dialogue is great anyway. This is the first Hornby I have listened to or read, although I have seen several movies- I plan to get my hands on everything he's ever written!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha Virginia Beach, VA, United States 01-04-12
    Martha Virginia Beach, VA, United States 01-04-12 Member Since 2011

    Avid reader and audiobook listener; I love paranormal lit, mysteries, historical fiction, romance, Brit-crime novels and thrillers.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Almost Like A "Breakfast Club" For Adults"

    I cannot give this book enough stars! Both the story and the performance were fan-BLOODY-tastic. I enjoyed the three different readers, playing the parts of the four characters. Kate Reading and Scott Brick are two of my favorite narrators and now I have another favorite - Simon Vance. Each of them brought so much to the reading. I don't feel as if they were actually reading it at all, but more like they were really Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen, speaking for themselves. This is the second novel by Nick Hornby that I have listened to (the first was "Juliet, Naked", another excellent listen) and I will be trying to locate more very soon.
    This book though, really resonated with me. I am a parent of two children with special needs, though they are by no means as profoundly disabled as Matty is, and I found Maureen's story to be especially poignant; however, I was also able to relate to the other three characters (even Jess) almost as well. The characters are very human, very real, and more often than not, quite comical. I especially love the interactions between Martin and Jess. Martin is twice Jess's age and way higher on the IQ scale, but can never seem to come out on top of any arguments they have. One of my favorite quotes from this novel is from Jess when she says "everyone knows how to talk, but no one knows how to listen". I feel like that, too. Often. There were parts of this novel where I laughed out loud and then there were other bits that moved me to tears. I used the bookmarks feature on the Audible app (along with the ability to add a note) more on this than any other I've listened to. I know there were whole sections that I've only begun to really "get" so it'll definitely require another listen sometime in the future. I am recommending this book to family and friends, anyone I know who's life isn't what they'd expected and hasn't turned out quite in the way they'd hoped it would.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James East Stroudsburg, PA, USA 07-08-05
    James East Stroudsburg, PA, USA 07-08-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Truly Enjoyable"

    Nick Hornby has mastered the art of dialogue. You will not be let down by this book, the characters or their ideosyncrasies.

    Even though I didnt want to leave the characters, in the end, I know that they will never leave me.

    Absolutely Brilliant... cant wait for the movie now.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristien C. King Davis, California United States 08-13-05
    Kristien C. King Davis, California United States 08-13-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Excellet - witty and thought provoking"

    I never imagined that the topic of suicide could be so funny! Extremely well read. Especially recommended to anyone whose life hasn't quite turned out to be everything they'd hoped for.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Beck Chester, MA 06-23-05
    Paula Beck Chester, MA 06-23-05 Member Since 2002

    baybay2

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Totally enjoyable!"

    This books was fantastic! All the characters are likeable and funny; the narrators are perfect! I thoughly enjoyed this book!

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Arkansas 01-15-14
    Amazon Customer Arkansas 01-15-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    Performance
    Story
    "Death Has Never Been so Funny!"

    What a great book. Four individuals who think they are living the last day of their lives, meet by coincidence at the top of the building where they are planning to jump. Characters are all unique and a little quirky. The youngest of the group is angry, crazy, and hilarious. The narration of this character is outstanding. Excellent ending, with a look at depression vs. the realities of the everyday human life. All three narrators stellar. It's quite a party.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 09-24-11
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 09-24-11 Member Since 2008

    caffeinated

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Long on style. Short on insight."

    Maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind when listening to this. (I have a daughter who is very much like the character Jenn and she has been amazingly Jenn-like lately.) I found the book to be likable and approachable, but I didn't really come away with any better understanding of what it means to stand on the edge. In the end, the human condition was left un-elucidated.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Willow Spring, NC, United States 11-17-09
    William Willow Spring, NC, United States 11-17-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sad in a Very Funny Way"

    I wasn't sure about this book at first, but I took a chance and I'm glad I did. Although the topic is very sad and depressing, it's got some of the funniest scenes I've read in a book. The way Hornby presents the characters is very interesting, and having three narrators makes this work unique. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because of the ending. It wasn't a bad ending, but since I'm like a typical American (as Martin, a character in the book, describes), my rating makes sense. A very good listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 01-16-06
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 01-16-06 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Simple fun"

    I enjoyed this book and all of the personalities involved in the story. Nothing heavy, just plain, easy entertainment.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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