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Publisher's Summary

Now a Hulu TV series starring Zoë Kravitz

From the best-selling author of Funny Girl, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down, a wise and hilarious novel about love, heartbreak, and rock and roll.

Rob is a pop-music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. 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 offbeat clerks at his store, who endlessly review their top five films; top five Elvis Costello songs; top five episodes of Cheers

Rob tries dating a singer, but maybe it’s 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 that life with kids, marriage, barbecues, and soft-rock CDs might not be so bad.

©1995 Nick Hornby (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"As funny, compulsive and contemporary a first novel as you could wish for." (GQ)

"One of the top ten books of the year." (Entertainment Weekly

"It is rare that a book so hilarious is also so sharp about sex and manliness, memory and music." (The New Yorker

Featured Article: The Best Literary Adaptations to Stream in 2020


At-home entertainment has become a big part of our daily lives, offering a needed escape and an alternative to the social outings and live events that are currently on hold. We’ve been settling in with all the new shows and films that began streaming in 2020—and as you might expect, we’re most excited about the ones based on our favorite audiobooks. You can look forward to staying in these worlds a little bit longer with these streaming adaptations.

What listeners say about High Fidelity

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book. Gets Better With Age. Like Most Of Us...Hopefully.

I re- visited this book as a 44 year old after reading it years ago as a 30 year old. It not only holds up but has become even better. Either that, or I have. Maybe just a bit of both. Or at least I like to think this.

Yes, there is a movie and yes there is a show and both of them are great in their own right, but this book is fantastic.

The performance captures the wit and English charm well, my only complaint is the habit of making the women’s voices a bit higher and lighter than is necessary- which can be a bit distracting.

Otherwise, this book absolutely is one of my top five, all time, favorite desert island reads.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My first Hornby book.

This was my first Nick Hornby book, but definitely not my last. Set in a timeframe that matched perfect with my life, it was full of characters that reminded me of myself and my childhood friends. I found the book consistently humorous with moments that had me laughing out loud. Chocked full of pop culture references that took me back to early adulthood, this story touched me in ways that few modern books do. Queuing up my next Hornby now.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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fantastic!

Maybe my favorite book of all time, excellent performance as well. I highly recommend this book!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fun, funny, dry.

This was great. It was very funny and very easy to listen to. The reader delivers a hilarious, dry, self-pitying performance that is just right.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

movie was better

got the book because I love the movie and was disappointed. I think this is the first time I've ever liked the movie better. much less about music in the book.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing - especially the music portion

You're hoping for true insight into an audiophile's life, someone that uses music as oxygen but it's not here. More than likely the musical choices (a lot of 60's soul) are Hornby's favorites. Unfortunately Hornby falls far short in knowledge of music to make this work. Rob, the central character, is about 35 in what is probably 1993. The constant reference of music when Rob was 5-10 just does not ring true. He throws out the occasional Clash blurb to sound hip and esoteric but how esoteric is the Clash when they played stadiums?

Rob is also the wettest of blankets. Why Laura would stay with him is beyond the understanding layed out here. The movie sucked too.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Not a Top Five Listen

My top 5 books of the mid-90s: The Ice Storm, Into Thin Air, Harry Potter, Election, and High Fidelity My top 5 movies around 2000: American Beauty, Almost Famous, Amelie, Memento, and High Fidelity. My top 5 streaming TV series during the original COVID quarantine: Tiger King, Queen's Gambit, Star Trek Picard, Bridgerton, and High Fidelity. The audio edition of High Fidelity? Not even in my top 5 audio listens of the month of May (and I only listened to seven audiobooks in May in whole or in part).

I love High Fidelity. Read the book, saw the movie, watched the Hulu reboot, loved them all. An unabridged audio edition was not available on Audible until recently, finally got a chance to listen to it, and -- not at all what I hoped for. There's nothing wrong with the book, still one of my favorites, although it does feel dated -- not just because so much of today's technology is absent, but the passage of time has not been kind to Hornby's pop culture references (there isn't even a mention of Ben Folds, who became a big part of Hornby's musical canon but hadn't yet recorded when High Fidelity was written).

No, the real problem is the narration. Whose idea was it to hire a 60-70-year old guy with a whiny voice to read a story about a 30-year-old guy obsessed with pop culture and women? As accomplished a narrator as David Case was, the acclaim was for his traditional reading of classic works of English literature. He was absolutely the wrong choice for this book, the result being that our protagonist comes off as snotty, spoiled, unlikeable -- not at all like the loveable shaggy dog portrayed by John Cusack.

I almost never pan a book entirely because of its narrator. I can usually grow accustomed to even the worst of them, or at least work through them and focus on other elements of the writing. But this is a rare case where the narration literally alters the character for the worse, making the whole affair irredeemably unlikeable. I have to just put this behind me, maybe watch the movie again to straighten me out.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

an autobiography about every woman some dude dated

The first 30 minutes or more of the audio version of this book are about some guy's first kiss, fidst time having sex, etc... I am a guy myself , but I dont care about the first time you kissed a girl unless it is a funny story or a short story. instead jt is a very long winded discussion about the first 3 or 4 times the guy had sex. I dont want to hear about thia guys sex life. there is nothing really original, diffferent or special about this guys teenage years and early twenties. I think the book is a mix of fiction and autobiography. the autobiography-like stuff ia really boring because they guy did nothing at that time in his life. it is like saying, "and then I ate a chicken sandwhich" but it is "I had terrible sex with some young woman and then we broke up two weeks later" he doeant even descibe what the qomen were like, onky how many weeks they stayed together, whether it was kissing only, or sex, or whatever. horeible book. I hope it goes out of print, or whatever the comouter age equivulant to out-of-print is.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Saw the movie? Listen to the book

This is a funny, insightful book. I enjoyed the movie but I enjoyed the book also - a rare event. Be aware this reader sometimes is difficult to understand. The reading could be clearer in places. However, this is the whole book. There’s another recording that is only 3 hrs long. Get this one, not that one. If they’d have gotten John Cusack to read this it would have been brilliant.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

If you’re interested in reading a story about a guy who is a total loser this book is for you. Starts out in this childhood all the failed relationships and failed attempts to have a girlfriend. Then he goes on to tell you about his adulthood, no money, Tiny apartment no friends and again no relationships with women. Nothing interesting happens, no plot, just a guy going on for five hours about how’s
he’s a loser.I’m about half through this thing and I’m sick of it.