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A Long Way Down

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  78,981 ratings  ·  5,031 reviews
In his eagerly awaited fourth novel, New York Times-bestselling 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 Amer
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Riverhead Books (first published May 5th 2005)
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Sahar Akbarzade We are Iranian and we read this book in Persian

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Average rating 3.43  · 
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 ·  78,981 ratings  ·  5,031 reviews

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(A-) 80% | Very Good
Notes: Despite its grim premise, it's frequently laugh-out-loud. Though I'm not a fan of the shifting first-person perspective.
Jun 13, 2007 rated it did not like it
jump already! and take the book with you.
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jr Bacdayan
Oct 03, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Josh Feinzimer
Oct 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Chelsea slytherink
[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 05, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 09, 2007 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
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
I may have forgotten how to do this entirely, so bear with me!

4 Unexpected Stars

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby was a surprising read for me. Not only did I find it unique for the genre/sub-genre itself; but I also found it surprising how much I enjoyed reading it. There is plenty of evidence on my “read” shelf of the fact that suicide related books generally do little to nothing for me (excepting The Virgin Suicides).

As you can probably surmise, this is a story which revolves around that incr
Kat O
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 01, 2010 rated it liked it
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, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 14, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 former
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Elizabeth George
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recomended-reads
Who would think a book about four people who contemplate suicide on New Year's Eve would be funny? It is. They all show up on the same rooftop and decide not to jump, although they're not quite sure what to do once they've made that decision. Hornby gives us four wildly different first person narratives and we go on their journey of discovery together. Especially hilarious is the character Jess, a foul-mouthed, maddening, infuriating and ultimately lovable teenager. This is a delightful and quir ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 07, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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 03, 2016 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
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nick Hornby has such a distinctive voice. For me, the plot of his novels always takes a backseat to simply enjoying his fingerprints all over the pages. It sounds extreme, but I find myself processing his books sentence by sentence rather than chapter by chapter. This particular novel is definitely edgy territory (suicide) but, as usual, Hornby finds a way to somehow skirt the fine line between humor and the devastating realities of loneliness, unfulfilled dreams, lack of internal peace, etc. th ...more
Charlie Schnell
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read and funny at times, just not a favourite!
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Ramsey Hootman
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
You know how there are books that you know you'd love if you didn't know so much about a certain topic? Because the author clearly didn't bother do his or her research, and because you happen to know a lot about the topic, all of the glaring holes basically ruin the entire narrative for you? This is one of those. I hate that it was, because I loved About a Boy and I think Nick Hornby is fantastically funny. And yet.

The premise here is that four people encounter each other on the top of a buildi
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Well, I think it is easy to assume that I wont be running out and purchasing a movie ticket to see the movie based on this book. I had to force myself to keep reading this. I didn't actually like this book until page 85 and I did like the part slightly farther along where Penny finds out that Martin left her to "see his friends" when he really left to go jump off a building was funny in a sad sort of way. Suicide is not a laughing matter. I actually witnessed someone jump to his death so sorry, ...more
Ange H
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Four people decide to commit suicide by jumping off a roof at midnight on New Year's Eve. They don't know each other, it's just that they've all chosen the same roof and the same time to jump. (This patent lack of originality only makes them feel worse about themselves.) Since the moment has clearly passed, after some awkward discussion they eventually agree to go back down and have a drink.

With this absurd beginning, we meet Martin, Maureen, JJ, and Jess. They each confess the reasons that bro
Lisa (Two Bookish Brits)
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been a reader for so long but never have I ever read a book quite like this.

I seen this book in a charity shop and read the blurb and it called to me, those few lines gripped me and had me needing to read this book and honestly, I’m so glad I snatched it up and decided to read it.

This book follows the lives of 4 people who ultimately, wanted to end their lives on New Year’s Eve but after the first up on the tower block was interrupted and the other two joined everything went in a differen
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit
There's a terrifying passage in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest that has stuck with me, about suicidal depression and the importance of someone staying up with you and being there through the long night until the dawn. This book, about four people who meet attempting to jump to their deaths from the top of a London tower, is ... not that. In general, Hornby doesn't really attempt to capture the internal feeling of severe depression, focusing more on the interactions between the four. It end ...more
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In defense of A Long Way Down 18 256 Jan 30, 2018 02:18AM  
Broke Girls Book ...: June Book 1 19 May 28, 2014 08:01AM  
Very similar East Asian film from the late 90s? 1 26 Apr 12, 2014 02:32AM  
Hang me from a mast-never want to see this book again! 24 255 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

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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?” 838 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.” 685 likes
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