Books: Suicide's Light Side

In his new book, the author of High Fidelity takes on the saddest, least funny subject imaginable

If you were Nick Hornby's friend and he told you about a book he was working on called A Long Way Down (Riverhead; 333 pages), you would have gently taken him aside and encouraged him to consign it to that great literary recycling bin into which unwritable novels go. As a writer Hornby is one of the great welterweights—lots of comic flair, good with the voices and the pop culture, always ready with a dash of bittersweet pathos—but he's not generally thought of as swinging a heavy bat, intellectually speaking. There's a reason his books get turned into movies starring John...

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