Nick Hornby has a real gift for sympathy. He discerns situations and reactions that are common to the human experience and is able to articulate them in such a way that every reader can identify with what he’s written. And, in High Fidelity, he delves into one of the most common human experiences: falling in and out of love.
High Fidelity is the ultimate book about relationships. It covers the initial euphoria of attraction, the crushing blow of heartbreak, and the sobriety and caution with which heartbreak can cause us to proceed the next time around.
Rob Fleming is the hapless main character that gets to experience all of the highs and lows of relationships in Hornby’s book. He starts the book by listing his top five break-ups of all time. We also learn that he has really screwed up his last relationship with a woman named Laura. That relationship is the central focus of the book. Although we see other relationships of Rob’s, both before and after this one, they’re all discussed in light of their bearing on his relationship with Laura.
I never do this, but there were certain passages of the book that were so good that I just had to read them aloud to my sister. Hornby really just hits the nail on the head as far as how people behave and think when they’re in relationships, especially when it comes to the mistakes we make.
Now, I wouldn’t look to this book as an example of how to conduct oneself in a relationship. But it certainly gives insight as to how many people react to emotions and situations in their own lives when it comes to the opposite sex. That insight can be helpful in not only understanding your own behavior in these types of circumstances, but also in understanding what it might be like for the other person involved as well.
This review doesn’t even begin to do justice to the book, but suffice it to say that I absolutely loved it. Hornby writes with simplicity and nuance, a quality largely lacking in popular literature today. It’s a fast read, but a good one.