A Long Way Down: A Novel
New Year’s Eve at Toppers’ House, North London’s most popular suicide spot. And four strangers are about to discover that doing away with yourself isn’t quite the private act they’d each expected.
Perma-tanned Martin Sharp’s a disgraced breakfast TV presenter who had it all—the kids, the wife, the pad, the great career—and wasted it away. Killing himself is Martin’s logical and appropriate response to an unliveable life.
Maureen has to do it tonight, because of Matty being in the home. He was never able to do any of the normal things kids do—like walk or talk—and loving-mum Maureen can’t cope any more. Dutiful Catholic that she is, she’s ready to commit the ‘biggest sin of all’.
Half-crazed with heartbreak, loneliness, adolescent angst, seven Bacardi Breezers and two Special Brews, Jess’s ready to jump, to fly off the roof.
Finally, there’s JJ—tall, cool, American, looks like a rock-star, sometimes thinks he plays his guitar like one—who’s weighted down with a heap of problems, and pizza.
Four strangers, who moments before were convinced that they were alone and going to end it all that way, share out the pizza and begin to talk…Only to find that they have even less in common than first suspected.
Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down is a novel that asks some of the big questions: about life and death, strangers and friendship, love and pain, and whether a group of losers, and pizza, can really see you through a long, dark night of the soul.
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“New Year’s Eve was a night for sentimental losers. It was my own stupid fault. Of course ther’d be a low-rent crowd up there. I should have picked a classier date—like March 28nd, when Virginia Woolf took her walk into the river, or November 25th (Nick Drake). If anybody had been on the roof on either of those nights, the chances are they would have been like-minded souls, rather than hopeless f*ck-ups who had somehow persuaded themselves that the end of a calendar year is in any way significant.” Nick Hornby’s predictably unpredictable fourth novel invites us to the roof of Topper’s House, a traditional London suicide haunt. A Long Way Down is delivered through the distinctive voices of four would-be plungers.