“High Fidelity” by Nick Hornby is set in London. The main character is Rob Fleming, a man in his thirties. He doesn’t really stand out in any way; he is not good-looking, but not ugly either, he runs a record-shop called Championship Vinyl and is devoted to music. He owns thousands of records.
The story starts with his girlfriend Laura moving out one Monday night. He tries to convince himself that he is ok, smokes a cigarette and goes to work. He works with Barry and Dick, who are like him, they don’t have friends and they just hang out at the shop because they have nothing better to do. They are the only friends Rob has been keeping up with; since he started going out with Laura, they’ve been seeing her friends. They are by no means close, and he doesn’t tell them about Laura leaving before he snaps at Barry for making fun of his life.
Rob tries to get on with his life, but he misses Laura and it doesn’t help that his mother is taking it so hard. Rob meets up with their mutual friend Liz who blurts that she doesn’t think much of this Ray, who Laura is living with now. Rob figures out that Laura has moved in with their ex-next-door neighbour, and starts harassing them by phone and goes to see where he lives. At the same time, Rob meets an American singer Marie LaSalle, develops a crush on her and sleeps with her. They manage to stay friends, and Rob, Marie, Dick and Barry go to gigs together. He still isn’t over Laura, but even Liz is angry at him when she finds out that he cheated on Laura, while she was pregnant (he didn’t know it at the time), and when he told her, she decided to have an abortion. He had also told Laura that he might be on the lookout for something new. In addition, he borrowed a large sum of money from her to keep his shop running, and still hasn’t paid her back. Rob sees Laura when she comes round to pick up her belongings, and gets her to admit that there is a tiny chance of them getting back together.
Rob has been making a list of his all-time most memorable split-ups, and he doesn’t include Laura in the top five. He says that they are too old to hurt each other like when they were young. He decides to meet up with all the girls from his list, and realizes that he should have done that years ago. He notices that they are not these mystery creatures, but most aren’t any better off than he is.
Everything changes, when Laura’s dad dies. She doesn’t take it well at all and is tired, depressed and irritated. Rob is invited to the funeral, and ends up in a discussion about Laura and him and walks out of the ceremony. Laura leaves soon after him and looks around for him by car, and says that she is too tires to go out with him. Laura moves back in and arranges for Rob to DJ at the Groucho Club where he used to work when he was younger and gets Marie LaSalle to do a performance in his shop to sell her records.
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