Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Long Way Down

Title: A Long Way Down
Author: Nick Hornby
Penguin, 2006 (2005)

I am beginning to believe that Hornby is actually turning from comedy to tragedy. His first two novels were definitely comedies, albeit with tragic elements. How to be Good, however, was always more of a downer than an upper for me, and with this last novel, Hornby has completed his journey. The story is about four people who accidentally decide to kill themselves at the same time in the same place and have their plans thrown off when they run into each other. Yes, there are a few laughs along the way and (spoiler-warning!) the end is somewhat sunny (if you consider that the story began with the heaviest and most unpermeable of clouds). But the upbeat finale seems like an afterthought ("oh, that's right, I was supposed to write comedy...") and is not entirely convincing. Still worth reading though and extra kudos for the Jess character who is the saddest, most enervating, asshole in all of Christendom.

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