High Fidelity, Nick HorbyMarie comes into the shop… This, it seems, is what you get for sleeping with an American, all this upfront goodwill. You wouldn’t catch a decent British woman marching in here after a one night stand. We understand that these things are, on the whole, best forgotten. But I suppose Marie wants to talk about it, explore what went wrong; there’s probably some group counselling workshop she wants us to go to, with lots of other couples who spent a misguided one-off Saturday night together. We’ll probably have to take our clothes off and re-enact what happened, and I’ll get my jumper stuck round my head.

Although I’ve seen the film lots of times, this was the first time I’d read the novel on which the film was based. The film is an old favourite (one I haven’t watched for a while, actually) but I’m not sure if that it is because it is great, or just because it has a lot of personal associations for me – I’ll spare you the detail. Well, I liked the film. The book – despite being somewhat blokey and in parts even (mildly) offensive – is better. I can’t remember the last time I had to stifle a laugh while reading a novel. It’s funny and human and doesn’t have any bits missed out*.

(* I was actually pretty impressed with how thoroughly the book was translated into film, even to the extent of whole conversations being lifted word for word. When I was a kid I watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and I got out my book of the same, expecting to be able to follow the film with the “script” in my hand. I could not quite deal with the fact that the film did not minutely follow the book, and ever since then, I’ve been intensely distrustful of film adaptations. But in this case – with a few mostly unimportant exceptions – it is different. Lines from the film kept jumping out from the page, which was kind of cool.)

Anyway. It is a story about a thirty-something guy called Rob Fleming who owns a crappy record shop in north London and has just split up with his girlfriend, an event which causes him to reassess his life and in particular to try and analyse why he can’t seem to stick relationships, why he keeps getting dumped. In the process he learns, among other things, that not everything is about him and even (surprise!) that women are human. Who’d have thought it?

Here’s am Amazon link.
My copy came from the library.

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