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High Fidelity | [Nick Hornby]

High Fidelity

Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store in London. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection?
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Publisher's Summary

Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store in London. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection? Rob seeks refuge in the company of the clerks at his store who endlessly review their top five films (Reservoir Dogs...), top five Elvis Costello songs (Alison...), and top five episodes of Cheers (the one where Woody sang his stupid song to Kelly...). Rob tries dating a singer whose rendition of "Baby, I Love Your Way" makes him cry. But maybe its just that he's always wanted to sleep with someone who has a record contract. Then he sees Laura again. And Rob begins to think (awful as it sounds) that a life as an episode of thirtysomething, with all the kids and marriages and barbecues and k.d. lang CDs that this implies, might not be so bad.

©1995 Nick Hornby; (P)1998 Putnam Berkley Audio

What the Critics Say

"Told in an engaging first-person voice that blends sarcasm with self-deprecating humor, High Fidelity presents a painfully funny take on love, music, and growing up." (Library Journal)
"Hornby's amazingly accomplished debut should definitely appeal to music fans (and snobs), but it's his literate, painfully honest riffs on romantic humiliation and heartbreak that make the book so special. A rare, touching glimpse of the masculine view of affairs of the heart." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (104 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.0 (47 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Story
3.8 (44 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    Andrew Victoria, BC, Canada 04-22-04
    Andrew Victoria, BC, Canada 04-22-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    6
    3
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    FOLLOWING
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    "A G"

    Although I read this title in print, I absolutely loved it. Nick Hornby is one of the best contemporary authors out there and high fidelity is what launched his career. Great book!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 12-19-12
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2008

    caffeinated

    HELPFUL VOTES
    901
    ratings
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    178
    108
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    271
    10
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Men are morons"

    Like many people, I suspect, I came across this book after seeing the Americanized hollywood movie version first. The two are very different. As one would expect. But I think the screenwriter of the movie version did a much better job of making the main character, Rob seem likable. You can forgive his idiotic approach to relationships because in the movie he's also a record-collection-cataloging-obsessed, top-five-list-making nerd played by the highly likable John Cusak. In the book, he's just a moron. Immature. Sex-centric. Self-absorbed. The book and the movie, however, suffer from the same fatal flaw: they put the characters through a set of circumstances that are highly unlikely, given human behavior. I recall in both viewing and reading, stopping myself and saying, "that character would never do that!" Rob and his girlfriend, Laura both seem to make choices for the sake of the story line instead of choices that they would make in real life scenarios. That said, Hornby is such a good story teller that it's hard to fault this book for entertainment value and readability. It's like eating popcorn. Very little nutritional value, but rather tasty.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christy 07-11-12
    Christy 07-11-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    2
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    "Book is good but audio and narrator awful"
    Any additional comments?

    The narration on this book is horrible! The guy is hard to understand and the accents he uses are atrocious. Also there is this background noise while listening... It sounds like the narrator is in a room with 5 other people also narrating a book at the same time. Poor quality audio, I'm very disappointed.

    If you want to read this book I suggest doing it, just don't buy this audio version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Austin, TX, United States 05-23-10
    David Austin, TX, United States 05-23-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    105
    8
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    0
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    "Terrible narrator"

    The narrator should never be allowed to do American accents. In fact, he wasn't able to differentiate the English characters very well either.

    The book is fine, but skip the audiobook on this one. The bad narrator spoils it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mason Irvine, CA, United States 12-15-13
    Mason Irvine, CA, United States 12-15-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "TOP 5"
    What made the experience of listening to High Fidelity the most enjoyable?

    Hilarious, engaging, feels like watching the movie for the first time. It might not actually be in my top 5, but I think I've listened to it more times than any other audiobook.


    What does David Cale bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I don't understand the reviews that knock the narrator. I think he does an awesome job. I love his delivery. I was at the gym recently listening to this book for probably the fifth time and it still had me laughing out loud in parts.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allie culver city, CA, United States 10-02-13
    Allie culver city, CA, United States 10-02-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    54
    7
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    4
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Realistic, Hilarious Writing & Fantastic Narrator"

    Yes, as some of the listeners have pointed out, the narrator's take on the Southern accent was lacking. Luckily, those were a minor character's few lines. The rest he did beautifully-the main character's middle class British, the intonations of his ex-girlfriends, and he especially brought his employees' comical speech to life. I absolutely loved him.

    Nick Hornby, of course, is brilliant. A listener commented that this novel is basically about men being pigs. That listener completely missed the point and took the book too literally. This is about how selfish and misguided we all can be in relationships and life-how at our most basic, we all ask-what's in this for me, can I get better? Hornby does this artfully, with British self-deprecating, practical, tongue-in-cheek humor, with great understanding of people and relationships, and with realism. You won't find corny sentimentality here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad 03-09-13
    Chad 03-09-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great Story but Narrator was Bad"
    What did you like best about High Fidelity? What did you like least?

    This book is filled with fantastic lists (Music, movies, and great loves). Quick and fun read that touches on friendships, passion for music and relationships in a realistic and funny way.

    The co-workers in the record shop make the book. The book makes you remember the horrible feelings of breaking up (in a funny way, not depressing) and the unique thoughts you have when that happens. The breaking up phase comes in different stages and this book nails them all.

    A good short Sunday read. The movie (same name starring John Cusack and Jack Black) nails the books character and tangents too if you wanted to watch instead of reading it.

    The Narrator was bad though...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JTN 07-23-12
    JTN 07-23-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Helped me cope"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Listening to Hornby's work is always time well spent. I was disappointed to hear that several good parts were omitted (that's the downside to "abridged").I was stuck in a massive heatwave while visiting relatives in Indiana. Nightly listens to this audiobook helped me forget about the blast furnace outside my hotel window.Next time I'll remember to pack my copy of the book, which I left at home on my nightstand.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I was not the biggest fan of the narrator. Yes, I understand that the book takes place in England (and not Chicago, like the film), but the narrator did the worst job of making up voices for the other characters. He should have just stuck with his own voice instead of holding his nose to create the voices of his fellow record store pals. Don't get me started on his Texas accent...


    Could you see High Fidelity being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Already has!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Farnsworth Anacortes, WA 11-29-11
    Adam Farnsworth Anacortes, WA 11-29-11 Member Since 2004
    ratings
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    7
    2
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    "Personal and Relateable"

    High Fidelity had been on my top five list of favorite movies since it was released, and I knew it was originally a Nick Hornby book, but hadn't read it until this month. The movie is almost a verbatim recreation of the book, so I loved it. It has fantastic characters, classic Hornby, as well as really relateable situations. There's an authenticity and positivity that is rare. It's a quick read that I highly reccomend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenna Urusky 02-20-11 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    1
    Overall
    "Love it except for one thing"

    I love this book completely with one exception....the narrator's "southern drawl" is intolerable. But the good news is that character's appearances are sparse, so its worth suffering through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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