Barbara Glasson Methodist minister in Liverpool

by
02 November 2006

'A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby is a novel about four people (disgraced TV presenter; a failed rock star; the daughter of a Cabinet Ministerand a single parent with a disabled child) who all feel overwhelmed, who arall contemplating suicide, and who meet on top of a tower block. It explorethe relationships that develop among them.

They are not particularly likeable characters, and they don't instantly likeach other, but they come to depend on each other. Each voice comes in afteanother; so the reader looks at the same situation from four points of view.

The novel considers what makes life worth living, and has moments of greahilarity. It asks: what would you wish for to make you happy? Often it's thlittle things that make life bearable or unbearable, and it's the accumulatioof things that leads to collapse.

The book resonated with me because I work with people to whom small thingmake a difference, whereas in church we often try to do the big things. Thlanguage in the book is strong, because the characters are at extremes; anthere's a real rawness. In Liverpool, at the moment, we're thinking about whaculture is.

I think it's the interaction of people, place, and story. When the threcome together, something new happens.

The people in this book would never meet in ordinary circum-stances, rathelike the people who sit in a room at the bread-making church. But, meetingthey become part of each other's story.

The book ends with a striking image of the four characters looking at thLondon Eye, and thinking that, although it doesn't look as if it's moving, iis. In life, you can't see change happening, but it is.'

Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down, Penguin, 7.997.20)0-14-028702
Barbara Glasson's I am Somewhere Else is published by DLT.

 

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