I know, you're rolling your eyes at me. You're thinking that anyone who has the patience to read Helen Fielding probably has the patience for High Fidelity. Turns out you are right.
Sometimes I make quick decisions, quick judgements. (Eh? Emma? Okay, I'll stop.) So if a guy at a bar makes a lame joke, or stares at a girl's breasts for too long, I assume he's an idiot. Similarly, I read the first two or three chapters of Hornby's Fever Pitch, and I jumped to a conclusion about his writing in general....
But High Fidelity is really something special. And not because I feel like I'm hanging out with John Cusack, and he's quietly reading to me, or perhaps we are sitting on a couch together and he is listening to utterly cool indy music on his headphones while I read a novel on which a movie he starred in was based.... (Who wouldn't want to hang out with John Cusack? Honestly.)
To be honest, I have little else to say on this topic -- yes, it's written by a man. Yes, it's popular. Yes, Hornby's actually quite a good writer. But it's still fluff. So I'm not going to bore you with a full-out dissection.
I will bother you with some prose pulled from the pages, however:
"What came first -- the music or the misery?.....
"People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody ever worries about kids listening to thousands -- literally thousands -- of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss. The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don't know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they've been listening to the sad songs longer than they've been living the unhappy lives." (p. 25)
*Additional notes: Stay tuned for my giddy, over-the-top, yes-I-clapped-my-hands-all-through-it review of film based on The Jane Austen Book Club. Really. I clapped my hands. Also, I am still reading Blindness. But I was on vacation, you understand.