• High Fidelity

  • By: Nick Hornby
  • Narrated by: David Case
  • Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (397 ratings)

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High Fidelity  By  cover art

High Fidelity

By: Nick Hornby
Narrated by: David Case
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Publisher's summary

Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award

New York Times Notable Book

Now a Hulu TV series starring Zoë Kravitz!

"I've always loved Nick Hornby, and the way he writes characters and the way he thinks. It's funny and heartbreaking all at the same time."—Zoë Kravitz

From the bestselling author of About a Boy, A Long Way Down and Dickens and Prince, 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

What listeners say about High Fidelity

Average customer ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic!

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

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hipster Manic Pixie Dream Boy

I like this book so much. Rob is the perfect hipster manic pixie dream boy. I find so much of his prose relatable as much as I find him annoyingly stereotypical and mildly detestable. I can see why this story made such a great movie and TV show.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Story and Narration

High Fidelity is a rare example of a book and film which are equally entertaining and poignant. Men of a certain age will likely be the ones who find it most compelling, but I think there might be something there for everyone.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Made me laugh and think and remember

I had this book waiting to be read for years.

Should have done it before, but I really connected with it at this moment of my life.

I truly enjoyed it, and the ending was fantastic.

Fenomenal work by the reader, takes it to a new level!

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    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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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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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