Barbara Glasson Methodist minister in Liverpool

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.


100 Best Christian Books

How many have you read?

Visit the 100 Best Christian Books website to see which books made our list, read the judges' notes and add your own comments.

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

The Church Times Podcast

Interviews and news analysis from the Church Times team. Listen to this week’s episode online

Subscribe now to get full access

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read up to twelve articles for free. (You will need to register.)