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A Long Way Down

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  65,442 Ratings  ·  4,455 Reviews
Nick Hornby mines the hearts and psyches of four lost souls who connect just when they’ve reached the end of the line.

In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, 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 c
ebook, 352 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Riverhead Books (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 24, 2009 Malbadeen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
jump already! and take the book with you.
Mar 20, 2008 Raych rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh popular authors, I'm always so nervous about you. I mean, on the one hand I always figure that if so many people like you, there must be something good about you. But then, so many people like harlequin romances, and Dane Cook, and Big Brother. People are idiots. Even when they aren't, they can't always be trusted. My friend Amy actually loved Confessions of a Slacker Wife, and my husband really liked The Innocent Man, a.k.a. Was John Grisham Always This Bad And I Just Didn't Notice?, and my ...more
Josh Feinzimer
Oct 24, 2007 Josh Feinzimer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to people who are secure enough to laugh at their own despair
Shelves: comedy
I didn't get into Hornby for the same reason as everyone else, (they like Jon Cusak in High Fidelity). A Long Way Down was recommended to me by a friend and I needed a light read for the summer so I picked it up.

I have never actually laughed out loud while reading a book until I read this one. Running With Scissors was the closest I came, but Augusten Burroughs was such an unrealistic and absurd character, (which is ironic because he was based on a real person), that it seemed too ridiculous to
Jr Bacdayan
I’ve been down, I don’t wanna say depressed. I don’t wanna use the term lightly. There are lots of people with real problems, people diagnosed with clinical depression but I’m not one of those. I’m just a university student with an unpredictable proclivity for melancholia. Sure, I’m a little bit melodramatic at times. But, hey! Who isn’t? And when you feel a bit down in the dumps sometimes you need something relatable and so I gave this a go.

Do you know that feeling when you’re stuck in a long b
I had high hopes for this book, because my brother recommended this to me. My brother, the one who:
- tried to make fun of me on a book fanpage for liking books
- only reads books when they're written by either Barney Stinson or basketball players
So when that guy says a certain book is good, you go for it.

This is the story of four people who want to commit suicide on New Year's Eve. Of course, this is pretty much the most popular night to rob yourself of your own life, so it's not that surprising
May 01, 2012 Clay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, as many others, is not for everyone. I can completely understand that many people find those characters annoying and the whole story pointless. Nevertheless I am of the opinion that this book can give you hope. Of course this seems to be a silly thing to say considering the topic and all those miserable characters.

But let me explain. Apparently Johnny Depp called the characters some of the most outstanding he's ever had the pleasure of reading. And I can agree. They're all really fuc
Sep 05, 2007 Mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boy, is there anyone who has offered up more stinkers than Nick flippin' Hornby. And, was he so great to begin with? Even his better, earlier works were marginally good. Nothing life changing.

Which is kinda the point of why he's so awful: he is intentionally trying to be life changing in every book, essay, magazine column or whatever. He thinks he can somehow find the right prose combination for some idea or mindset to click and for it to change one's life ... much like these things do to chara
Sep 15, 2016 Chelsea rated it did not like it
[warning: minor spoilers + suicide mentions + statutory rape]

edit: You know what, this book doesn't deserve my mercy. I really hated it and it still makes me angry whenever I think about it. I'm going to lower my rating to 1 star.

I had to read this book for college, and when I read the synopsis, I thought it seemed quite good. I liked the idea, but the characters completely ruined this for me and not much happened as well.

These characters are VERY PROBLEMATIC! Let's have a look at some quotes th
Sep 08, 2014 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a Nick Hornby fan. And it's more than just enjoying his writing; I have a warm and fuzzy affection for him. So even when one of his books fails to utterly delight and transport me (How to Be Good, for example), I'm still on his side.

Michiko Kakutani clearly has no such affection for Hornby. Her review of A Long Way Down is savage. Her chief complaint is that the book contrives to arrive at an implausibly sappy conclusion. Which is odd, because I think the book admirably avoids easy answers
Dec 20, 2008 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book almost deserved one star. The only thing that saved it from being a complete and utter waste of my time was that Nick Horny writes the occasional very witty passage, and there were two (count them, two) observations that I found actually interesting. So that totals about five pages that I actually enjoyed.

The rest was quintessential fluffy drivel, which does have its place, but not when the book is discussing suicide, the meaning of life (or the lack thereof), and other such Profound T
Jun 26, 2013 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved this book. It has a tragic outline, about four suicidal people who meet on the roof of Toppers House on New Years Eve. But that alone, is where the tragedy ends. From the first page, it's straight out humour, wit and sarcasm. I definitely understand why some people find this book a challenge, because it's simply not for everyone. It's one of those books you'll either love or hate, nothing in between.

I warmed up to each and every character instantly. Martin - a divorced and di
Kat O
Jul 05, 2009 Kat O rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Empathetic Adults
I just read this book in two days. It was great. The story is told from four perspectives, and because of the great writing by Hornby you can't set it down mid chapter. You want to race through the chapters to complete each character's thoughts and the picture each one is painting of the same storyline.

What a great concept too, four strangers meet and share a suicidal moment, and end up sharing more because of meeting each other.

Each character was hilarious in their own right, which was also gr
Nov 20, 2010 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I'm such a freakin' fence rider. I can see why people would love this book. I can see why people would loathe this book. But can I pick one side or the other myself? No. Heck, I can't pick out pizza toppings or ice cream flavors, so why should I be able to figure out whether to give this book one star or five? I hope I'm not the only one who feels this way about reviewing books... I feel so isolated.

Four people decide to kill themselves and go to the local suicide hotspot on the suicide night o
Sep 10, 2009 brook rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 25, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
This is a dark comedy for it is about suicide and reading this is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

This is my 1st book by a contemporary British author, Nick Hornby (born 1957). His other works, High Fidelity (1995), About a Boy (1998) and How to be Good (2001) all ended up in New York Times Bestsellers and two have already been adapted to movies. I just picked up this bargain book as I was intrigued by its plot. I read later that Johnny Depp bought the story while it was still being writ
Suicide is no laughing matter. Atleast that's what I thought till a few months back. Then I happened to watch this excellent movie called 'Hemlock Society', which was a dark comedy-drama about suicidal people. And now comes along Nick Hornby's only high-concept novel till date - 'A Long Way Down'.

'A Long Way Down' is about four people who meet on New Year's Eve on top of a London building, each planning to jump off & putting an end to their seemingly miserable lives. Martin is a disgraced fo
May 19, 2012 Mohamed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came to this book not knowing what to expect; I knew that people spoke highly of Nick Hornby, and that his books elicit thought and introspection, and I was coming from a background of mostly fantasy and sci-fi readings, so I was a bit cautious about approaching the book.

Having said that, I am glad to have taken the plunge, because this is quite honestly one of the most amazing books I've had the pleasure to read. Nick Hornby really nails the mood and the characterization here, and I have noth
Sep 10, 2007 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One wouldn't think that a book that begins when the four main characters meet on a roof, each contemplating suicide, could be touching AND funny, but this was. The relationships these characters develop with one another reveal the way that external situations can create unlikely friendships, and how difficult a word like "friend" can be to use or comprehend. To quote the Publishers Weekly review, "If Camus had written a grown-up version of The Breakfast Club, the result might have had more than ...more
Cristina Boncea
Nov 08, 2016 Cristina Boncea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stefania T.
May 09, 2012 Stefania T. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Romanzo senza infamia nè lode.
O forse l'ascriverlo alla categoria delle letture "senzainfamianèlode" è già una consistente e minacciosa infamia.
Diciamo, allora, romanzo da me marchiato con il lugubre timbro dell'Indifferenza.
Sono metaforicamente e concretamente la stessa persona/lettrice che ero prima di cominciarne la lettura (bè, ok, lo ammetto, mi è spuntato un brufolo - forse due - nel frattempo, ma non credo di avere il diritto di accusare Nick Hornby di tale misfatto).
Esperienza che non
Charlie Schnell
May 04, 2014 Charlie Schnell rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One...
A couple of laughes does not save this book. This is my only book by Hornby so I cannot compare it to his other work, but I wish I had not stepped off the ledge and bought the damn thing! I honestly didn't realize I could care less about 4 people contemplating suicide, but the fact is I just didn't care, and the reason is Hornby did not give me a reason to care. These four characters have very little to redeem them.
Oct 17, 2010 Jasmine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
a note on misters folds and hornby and why they should be appreciated if not enjoyed.

So I have been listening to the new CD by hornby and folds pretty straight for the last day short of the time I have been working or sleeping (I'll get to this specific book be patient). Seldomly do I have any idea that something is coming out in advance. I almost never know if a band I like has a new cd, sometimes until years later, and I learn about a new book by walking by it in the store or karen putting it
Dec 08, 2014 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gran-bretagna
Ho iniziato convinta di leggere un libro sul suicidio. Un suicidio di gruppo, ma pur sempre un suicidio. Sfogliando le pagine ho conosciuto quattro volti e quattro vite. Tutte diversissime tra loro, quasi agli antipodi. Continuando a leggere ho scoperto che in realtà stavo ascoltando una storia sola e non quattro, ma osservata da quattro punti di vista diversi. Ognuno raccontato secondo uno sguardo diverso, ognuno con il proprio linguaggio. Ho scoperto che alla fine non era una storia sul suicid ...more
Sep 20, 2016 Nicky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes more please.
Jun 20, 2015 Pip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read and funny at times, just not a favourite!
Sep 23, 2007 Colleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who've felt depressed
Sometimes when you listen to a book on audio CD, it's hard to tell if the characters sound so alive because the author wrote them that way, or because the voice actors are brilliant. I'll have to take a look at the actual book to be sure, but Hornby's use of fillers such as "like," "you know," and "whatever" made his dialogue writing quite realistic.

That's a good thing when an entire book is composed of inner monologues. If only this book existed when I was auditioning for those dreadful high sc
Apr 02, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Someone recommended this book to me. And, to be honest, I thought that it would be really drug out and depressing. I mean, it's about five people who wanted to kill themselves. However, Hornby uses humor and gritty friction between the characters to lighten the novel as a whole, while not omitting the seriousness of their situations. I laughed throughout the novel. But, towards the middle of the book, I realized that as crazy as these characters might sound, I related to some of them. I related ...more
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
Did I enjoy this book: There’s got to be at least one character in a book that I care about. I was slogging through a modern classic–I won’t name it here–with the least likable set of characters I’d ever encountered. I pushed through to the halfway mark, and then I said, “Why am I doing this? I’m going to find a novel whose people touch my heart.”

I was lucky enough to pick up Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down. I really enjoyed the book.

The cover of my copy of A Long Way Down shows four pairs of shoe
Aug 04, 2016 Evelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Four strangers meet at arguably the lowest point in their lives and form an unlikely bond. Unlikely because these four people are so very different from each other that under normal circumstances they would never ever cross paths.
I laughed right out loud at several times while reading - not what I expected at all.
I enjoyed how each character took turns telling the story - of their lives, their loves, their sorrows. As the book progressed it was like peeling the layers of an onion, the reader gai
The second book in a row I read of Hornby's work, and the second one in order of liking. I liked his High Fidelity work some more, thus the 5 star rating on that one and the 4 star on this one.

The writing is beautiful. I really dig his style. I find him to be a nice blend between a few other authors and a good writer in terms of characters.

What Nick gets right are the differences between humans. Many times across the books I've read I found two characters or three characters in a book to be, a
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Book or Movie; Yo...: August PR - A Long Way Down 1 5 Jul 31, 2015 06:44AM  
In defense of A Long Way Down 15 218 Jul 17, 2015 11:10AM  
Broke Girls Book ...: June Book 1 19 May 28, 2014 08:01AM  
Very similar East Asian film from the late 90s? 1 24 Apr 12, 2014 02:32AM  
Hang me from a mast-never want to see this book again! 24 250 Nov 14, 2013 10:14AM  
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Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, Slam, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is a recipient of the American Acade ...more
More about Nick Hornby...

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“I don't know you. The only thing I know about you is, you're reading this. I don't know if your happy or not; I don't know whether you're young or not. I sort of hope you're young and sad. If you're old and happy, I can imagine that you'll smile to yourself when you hear me going, he broke my heart. You'll remember someone who broke your heart, and you'll think to yourself, Oh yes, i remember how that feels. But you can't, you smug old git. Oh you'll remember feeling sort of plesantly sad. You might remember listening to music and eating chocolates in your room, or walking along the embankment on your own, wrapped up in a winter coat and feeling lonely and brave. But can you remember how with every mouthful of food it felt like you were biting into your own stomach? Can you remember the taste of red wine as it came back up and into the toilet bowl? Can you remember dreaming every night that you were still together, that he was talking to you gently and touching you, so that every morning when you woke up you had to go through it all over again?” 753 likes
“How do people, like, not curse? How is it possible? There are these gaps in speech where you just have to put a "fuck." I'll tell you who the most admirable people in the world are: newscasters. If that was me, I'd be like, "And the motherfuckers flew the fucking plane right into the Twin Towers." How could you not, if you're a human being? Maybe they're not so admirable. Maybe they're robot zombies.” 681 likes
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