A Long Way Down

by Nick Hornby | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0670888249 Global Overview for this book
Registered by eMeReS of Leiden, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on 8/1/2005
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10 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by eMeReS from Leiden, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Monday, August 01, 2005
Synopsis (from amazon.co.uk)
Narrated in turns by a dowdy, middle-aged woman, a half-crazed adolescent, a disgraced breakfast TV presenter and an American rock star cum pizza delivery boy, A Long Way Down is the story of the Toppers House Four, aka Maureen, Jess, Martin and JJ. A low-rent crowd with absolutely nothing in common - save where they end up that New Year's Eve night. And what they do next, of course. Funny, sad, and wonderfully humane, Nick Hornby's new novel asks some of the big questions: about life and death, strangers and friendship, love and pain, and whether a slice of pizza can really see you through a long, dark night of the soul.

I picked this book up in a backpackers hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, so it already has been on a considerable journey. It would have been nice to know where it came from before I took it, but at least now we can see how the journey continues.

My thoughts about the book: it left me with mixed feelings. At times the story grabbed me, but it was hard to connect to the characters. The action is often erratic, and especially Jess bugged me (eventhough she is meant to be an irrational person, she did not strike me as realistic). Towards the end I couldn't imagine a satisfying ending to it all, and Hornby was not able to surprise me as I somehow kept hoping. Still not a complete waste of time in my opinion, he does stir up some interesting themes and questions.

Since I have seen it on a number of wishlists, I'll turn this one into a ray.

Journal Entry 2 by eMeReS from Leiden, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Tuesday, August 02, 2005
The ray is on its way. The list has been growing steadily and I am not taking any new participants before the book is nearing the end.

Paticipants (order might change to accommodate shipping preferences):

1. gkonkler5 - USA (Int'l)
2. Alectoness - New Zealand (Int'l)
3. Sujie - Malaysia (Int'l)
4. ZoeKing - The Netherlands (prefer EU, Int'l ok)
5. kizmiaz - Portugal (prefer EU)
6. conto - Portugal (Int'l)
7. twinkpuddin - USA (prefer US/CA, Int'l ok)
8. OneMorePage - USA (prefer US)
9. atnaturesmercy- USA (prefer US/CA)(skipped, no replies to PMs)
10. fsr44 - USA (Int'l)
11. travellinglight - Greece (prefer EU)<-- the book is ready to go here
12. eatsletters - Germany (Int'l)
13. Hawkette - United Kingdom (prefer UK)
14. cloggy - United Kingdom (prefer EU)
15. RonOren - United Kingdom (prefer EU)
16. Qantaqa - Germany (prefer Germany)
17. tembo - Germany (prefer EU)
18. ScarletBea - Switzerland (prefer EU)
19. Hellie - United Kingdom (no preference stated)

Ray etiquette (aka common sense and courtesy) :-)

-Make a journal entry when you receive the book
- Try to read it within 4-6 weeks. If, for whatever reason, you need more time, no problem. But do take a minute to make a brief journal entry and PM the next in line, so we all know the ring is not lost or stalled.
- When you are finished, make a journal entry with your thoughts about the book (as short, or long as you like).
- PM the next in line to get the address and send the book on.
- Last one on the list? Try to find new readers, or wild release the book (PM me if you rather have someone else do that)

Thank you all for joining, and I hope you’ll enjoy the book!

Journal Entry 3 by eMeReS from Leiden, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, August 03, 2005
There are some empty pages at the back, I thought it would be nice to use them to illustrate the journey of this book. Take a look at the "picture trail" I started and if you feel like it, make your own contribution.
Have fun!

I have put the book in the mail to gkonkler5 on Thursday August 4th.

Journal Entry 4 by gkonkler5 from Casper, Wyoming USA on Saturday, August 13, 2005
Woo Hoo this came in the mail today. I hope to start it in the next couple of days. I'm in the middle of Poisonwood Bible 500+ pages. Thank goodness it's good and should take much to finish up. Can't wait to get started on this Nick Hornby. Thanks for including me in this ray.

Journal Entry 5 by gkonkler5 from Casper, Wyoming USA on Saturday, August 27, 2005
I really enjoyed this book. The subject matter could be considered depressing but Hornby evened it out with his ability to find humor. Thought I'd try to include my picture that I added to the book here as well. Bare with me may take me a couple of tries to get it right. Thanks for sharing eMeReS!
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Casper, WY USA
Sending on to Alectoness in Wellington, New Zealand

Journal Entry 6 by Alectoness from Geelong, Victoria Australia on Thursday, October 13, 2005
The book arrived back in New Zealand today, and I've already read the first 40 pages. Am looking forward to reading the rest and adding a picture of Wellington to the book's travelogue. Thanks to eMeReS for starting this ray for this book and to gkonkler5 for sending it to me here in New Zealand.

Journal Entry 7 by Alectoness from Geelong, Victoria Australia on Sunday, October 16, 2005
While I liked this better than How To Be Good, I still didn't think it rated as highly as some of Hornby's short stories or his novel, High Fidelity. Overall, I think I enjoy Hornby's writing more when it deals with characters who are there for their own sake rather than characters who are representing a 'theme' (different reasons to commit suicide in this case).

Still, Hornby's done well to create four distinctive voices here. Although I found Martin and Maureen far more interesting than JJ and Jess, I was never confused as to who was narrating. And there were a few great moments which made me laugh, and a few others that made me think. It was worth reading just for those.

I've got Sujie's address in Malaysia here so I'll put it in the post tomorrow.

Released 14 yrs ago (10/16/2005 UTC) at By Mail in Sent to a fellow BookCrosser, Bookring -- Controlled Releases



Have mailed this to Sujie in Malaysia. According to the post office, it should take 4-10 working days to arrive.

Journal Entry 9 by Sujie from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia on Monday, October 24, 2005
Nine days, Alectoness! Fantastic. Arrived safely with surprise companion today. Why is Kiwi post so much better than Oz? Can't wait to read this.
Photo: walking round Sipadan, world's top diving spot (tip of a submerged volcano and 600m near-vertical walls of coral).

Journal Entry 10 by Sujie from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, October 27, 2005
I cannot add much to the general opinion. Hornby's style, which I really enjoy, carried me through what I think is the least successful of his novels. Thanks for clarifying for me what was wrong with the characterisation, Alectoness. I agree about the theme, not the different voices. I found it hard to differentiate between JJ and Martin at times and had to flip back to check. I found Maureen the most realistic (possibly because of Hornby's own experience with his autistic son) and even Jess, overwritten as she was, rang a little true, but I didn't feel as sad as the blurb said I would. Interested in the themes explored, as you were, eMeReS, and sometimes amused, but not profoundly saddened.
Thanks for the ring and squeezing me in. I'll post this to ZoeKing perhaps tomorrow, Friday, though if DaveDELC wants to read it, it may be Monday. Even airmail from here takes quite a long time, ZoeKing so don't get too excited!
Photo: coming up to the summit, Mt. Kinabalu, 4100m, Sabah.

Journal Entry 11 by ZoeKing from Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Sunday, January 29, 2006
I have received and read the book, and will send it on asap. More to follow....

Journal Entry 12 by eMeReS from Leiden, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Tuesday, January 31, 2006
The book is amking a short stop back "home" again. It's been round the world once now and I was curious to see what it would look like (thanks for sending it to me, Zoeking).
It's a great joy to see all the pictures that you have added, many thanks for contributing to the picture trail. I especially liked the Wellington picture, because it brings back wonderful memories of my visit there last year, I have travelled in that cable car as well!
I will not hold on to the book longer than it will take to read the travel companion it picked up on the way (nice touch, Alectoness). Next stop will be Portugal.

Journal Entry 13 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Thursday, February 09, 2006
Just arrived, I'm finishing another one so I'll start on this one soon.

Journal Entry 14 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Monday, March 06, 2006
What can I say about this book? I enjoyed reading it and it certainly redeems Hornby for me (after About a Boy I was thinking of him as a one-hit wonder, the one hit being High Fidelity). The subject of the book is a bit depressing and Martin, Maureen, JJ and Jess are not likeable characters, but the way Hornby writes this story prevents you from getting the blues, well maybe you get a bit of the blues if you really think about it, I mean these guys really don’t have much to live for do they?
While I was reading it I found myself thinking of some books I read by Douglas Coupland, especially Eleanor Rigby and All Families Are Psychotic, and the way that both authors pick grey depressed characters with a whole lot of problems and manage to write about it in a humorous way, which makes the subject of the books feel much lighter than it actually is.
There were many emotions running thru my mind while reading certain parts of this book and some of them weren’t pleasant, but on the whole most were probably good and that’s how I’m now able to say I enjoyed it, really enjoyed it.
In the end it’s all about redemption isn’t it? We’re all (not all but you know what I mean) trying to find some kind of sense to this mess we call life in the 21st Century. Is there any sense to be found? Is there any sense in looking for it? Who knows? Who cares?
Read most of it while listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “The Boatman Call” album, and it worked great.
The picture is the same as on the picture trail in the book but here in full size, it’s from Terreiro do Paço, one of the most important squares in Lisbon, and it was taken at about 9pm on a Summer day.
Will be sending the book along as soon as I get an adress.

Journal Entry 15 by conto from Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Monday, March 13, 2006
Already got it!
Thanks a lot eMeReS, for offering the possibility of reading it sooner, and thank you, Kizmiaz, for making it come my way!!

I'm reading another book (ring) at the moment but this will be next in line so I hope not to get too long with it (and with the surprise one accompanying it!).

Journal Entry 16 by conto from Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Sunday, April 02, 2006
This one's definitly a great book!... Enjoyed myself a lot while reading it and put lots of people wondering why I was smiling and sometimes laughed, in the subway everymorning during the past week!
Hornby's got my kind of sense of humor and I'm amazed at how he can get such a difficult and troublesome theme become so very much amusing and funny while serious at the same time!
Because it does makes us think about a lot of topics, though, and about life and of how it gets to you, and, and...

I've never done this, but I'll try to put in here the pictures I sticked in the book. They're of Lisbon: Alfama and Baixa (meaning downtown). I wish I could see it in the end!

And the book will follow, sometime next week, to twinkpuddin.
Thanks a lot eMeReS, once more, for this opprtunity!

Journal Entry 17 by twinkpuddin from Seattle, Washington USA on Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Caught yesterday and started today! Thanks conto for passing along.

Journal Entry 18 by twinkpuddin from Seattle, Washington USA on Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Finished already! (Helps to be stuck at home, hehe.)

I really enjoy anything I've read by Hornby, and no surprise I enjoyed this as well. I thought he did a great job with the four distinct voices of the main characters. The subject matter, which had great potential for being depressing or flippant, I think was well handled. I found the last few sentences a very fitting way to describe my life. Although, I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.

I have PM'd OneMorePage for an address. As soon as I get that and get to the post office the book will be off! Thanks so much to eMeReS for sharing!

Journal Entry 19 by twinkpuddin from Seattle, Washington USA on Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Dropped in the mail yesterday! Enjoy!

Journal Entry 20 by OneMorePage from Mission Viejo, California USA on Thursday, May 04, 2006
Book is here! Perfect timing - just finished my last book and will start this one tonight. Thanks for sharing.

Journal Entry 21 by OneMorePage from Mission Viejo, California USA on Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I really enjoyed this book. I don't think it is Hornby's best, but nonetheless - even his second best is better than so many writers out there. He has such a way with modern culture. I am most curious how his books will hold up over the years.

I finished this in a couple of nights and then gave it to my better half, Mr. OneMorePage to read, who is an even bigger Nick Hornby fan than I. His immediate reaction was, "it's about SUICIDE??" He gave it about 50 ages and then gave up, claiming the topic was too sad for him. I suppose I can see that point of view, but I felt that Hornby was able to cut through a sad topic and make interesting people and situations out of it. I liked the characters a lot - well of course, Jess annoyed me, but she is meant to annoy anyone over the age of 25, right?

Anyhow, thank you for sharing this book all the way over here with us Yanks. We appreciate your generosity!

I have PMd Atnaturesmercy for her address and will send the book along as soon as I hear from her.

5/25/06 - an update - no reply from Atnaturesmercy. I have PMd Emeres to see if I should move on to the next person in line or wait longer.

Journal Entry 22 by OneMorePage at Bookring in Mission Viejo, CA -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, June 29, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (6/29/2006 UTC) at Bookring in Mission Viejo, CA -- Controlled Releases



I'm SO sorry for the delay, but had issues at the post office (they RAN OUT of shipping supplies. Hunh?) Anyway, finally went to another location and book is off safely today. Thanks again for sharing.

Journal Entry 23 by fsr44 from Pawtucket, Rhode Island USA on Friday, July 07, 2006
Received today. I have one book in front of it and then I'll read it and speed it on its way.

Journal Entry 24 by fsr44 from Pawtucket, Rhode Island USA on Saturday, July 15, 2006
While I thought it was an interesting premise, the book seemed to just wander around for a bit. It bogged down in the middle for me. I also found one of the characters so unsympathetic that I think Hornby went a little over the top in his portrayal of her. It would have been nice if just every once in a while, Jess didn't say the absolute meanest thing possible.
Will send to travellinglight as soon as I get an addy.

Journal Entry 25 by fsr44 from Pawtucket, Rhode Island USA on Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Sending to eMeReS.

Journal Entry 26 by eMeReS from Leiden, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Friday, July 21, 2006
Wow, in 3 days from the States to the Netherlands, did a make a short cut through another dimension? ;-)
I asked fsr44 to send the book to me now that it was returning to Europe, I was just curious to see what had been added to the picture trail. It looks really colourful and interesting, thank you all for contributing to it.
The book is ready to travel on to new places, I hope its journey will be as safe and swift as it has been so far.

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