Posted by: Jeff | January 23, 2011

Short Book Review: Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity

I’ve spent the past few months working my way through Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, a somewhat iconic work that chronicles relationships and coming of age in Generation X – a book that delves into the life and mind of a music-obsessed under-achiever with a self-destructive streak when it comes to relationships.  I read this book entirely because of the movie it inspired – a favorite of mine – and I think this is one of those very rare occurrences where I prefer the movie to the book.

Hornby realistically conveys the inner neuroses of a man coping with his own coming of age in the mid-90’s very well, but for whatever reason John Cusack’s portrayal of Rob Flemish, the obsessive record store owner struggling to muster maturity in his personal relationships, is still definitive in my mind. Luckily the movie is brilliant, so to say that the book is inferior is only to say that it’s merely very good and well worth the read.

As a fellow music snob, I enjoyed Rob’s neuroses, and only wish I could recommend to him LCD Soundsystem’s first album, which I feel lyrically captures some of the angst Rob feels.  On “Losing My Edge”, James Murphy uses the same deflecting humor and self-deprecation to observe that with his age comes a certain loss of credibility. Though he was once the coolest kid on the block who knew all the underground releases and attended all the coolest shows, now he faces life in his thirties with the realization that he’s just not that hip anymore.  While Rob struggles to come to grips with this loss of hipness, Murphy recorded an album chronicling it – one that could have easily been labeled “dance music for old people.”


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