As much as we don’t like to admit it in public, I refuse to believe that there is a single human out there who doesn’t, somewhere in the deepest, most private corners of their soul, get a perverse pleasure from arranging their lives into lists. “Top 5 Songs I Wish Were My Entrance Music“, “Top 5 Badger Jokes On 1970s British TV”, or my personal favourite, “Top 40 Things I’d Like To Hit Ben Affleck In The Face With”.
If any of that rings a bell (who are you kidding, of course it does!), then prepare to find yourself squirming rather uncomfortably when reading Nick Hornby’s love-letter to music.
High Fidelity is set in modern day London, and features the sometimes disturbingly anal Rob, as we follow him through his life and loves, all punctuated by Rob’s, and by extension Hornby’s, musings on the relevance on music as the background of our lives, almost another extension of the human memory.
The main plot strand follows Rob as he struggles to keep his second-hand record shop afloat, and also to maintain his relationship with his partner, Laura. As the story progresses, Rob looks back at his previous relationships (and their accompanying soundtracks, obviously), and begins to see that perhaps his life can be different.
Intentionally or not, Hornby once again follows Kierkegaard’s Narrative, with the aesthete eventually renouncing his ways and finding solace in commitment, with Rob and Laura’s romantic relationship mirroring the platonic one of Will and Marcus in follow-up About A Boy.
Once again the male psyche is captured worryingly straightforwardly by Hornby. Someone have this man shot so we can start pretending to be complex creatures again!