DOWN IN THE DIP WITH YOU
I stayed up late reading A Long Way Down. It was one of those cases where I was so close to the finish line, I didn't want to stop until I crossed it. The ending was a bit soppy, though I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. The plot is that four people go to the same spot to kill themselves on New Year's Eve, and the resulting traffic jam keeps it from happening. They then form an odd group--being, as they are, from wildly different backgrounds--in order to try to figure out this crazy little thing called life. So, I doubt it would spoil it for anyone to know that the end of what is ostensibly a comedy features the quartet coming to some kind of terms with it all. Not perfect, tidy little terms, but Nick Hornby-style terms. In a lot of ways, it's hard not to think it is a little too convenient, a little too forward-thinking in regards to an inevitable film adaptation (the character of Martin, a TV presenter whose world was rocked by a sex scandal, reads like it was prefit for Hugh Grant, star of the adaptation of Hornby's About a Boy). It might have actually been more poignant to have one of them go through with it, forcing the remaining three to deal with the shock--but that's a bit too much of criticizing the book for being something other than what it was intended to be. What Brian Bendis calls "criticizing The Matrix for not having enough jokes."
Still, it was an enjoyable, light read, and the imagery employed on the final page was brilliant. The book is written in a conversational tone that rolls along with ease--though it can also be Hornby's greatest fault. You know how British people always get mad about the bad accents American actors do in film? Hornby has done the same with his American character. It's not that it's entirely wrong, just maybe trying a little too hard to sound natural.
It was also probably good for me to read right now as I start thinking towards my own happy ending. Horizon is the final punctuation on the "Romance Trilogy," so unless some strumpet breaks my heart between now and the book's completion and I decide that everything is tragic and blow up the planet, there is going to have to be some resolution. No more inhale endings with no exhale. It should be a challenge, to say the least.
Thanks, by the way, to Laurenn, who gave me A Long Way Down, autographed no less, for my birthday last year. Mwah! We'll have to sit in an octopus' garden in the shade again one day soon.
Current Soundtrack: Graham Coxon, Love Travels at Illegal Speeds
Current Mood: accomplished
[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich