A Long Way Down
10 journalers for this copy...
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.
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!
Casper, WY USA
Sending on to Alectoness in Wellington, New Zealand
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.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Have mailed this to Sujie in Malaysia. According to the post office, it should take 4-10 working days to arrive.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
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.
Will send to travellinglight as soon as I get an addy.
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.