Friday, August 5, 2011

A Long Way Down

I've always been a fan of Nick Hornby's writing, though I hadn't read anything by him lately. I recently caught up with one of his older novels, A Long Way Down.

The premise is that on New Years Eve, four strangers meet when they find themselves atop a London building, all intent on jumping. With their resolve faltering, they agree to postpone their suicides until Valentine's Day, and a motley group is formed. Hornby does a great job of using cause and effect to move his story along. It seems like it could be a hard task to propel a group of suicidal strangers into enough action to fill a novel when they have little in common and don't even like each other all that much. The plot devices Hornby uses to get around this are somewhat obvious but still work really well, most likely because he simultaneously manages to reveal new bits of information about the characters' pasts. What could have been scenes of superficial action are turned into meaningful, nicely illuminating scenes. I officially remain a fan of his.

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