A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
This book, written by the author of High Fidelity, is a crazy novel about 4 very disparate people who happen to meet on the roof of a building on New Year’s Eve because they’ve each made a plan to kill themselves. As they begin to realize that they are all there for the same purpose, they begin a discussion about why they are up there. And so begins a bizarre sort of friendship among the four that somehow persists in spite of themselves. Their dialogue is honest and raw and insane and their story is odd and quirky, and the mood vacillates from laugh-out-loud to profoundly sad.
What adds to the color of this book is the change in the voice. Each chapter is narrated by one of the four main characters, and each of their voices is unique. They are really so different from each other — really their only common thread is their mutual suicidal inclination. They do not even seem to like each other, which adds to both the chaos and humor in the story. Each one is philosophical in his or her own way, though, and through them the author manages to comment on life and life struggles and questions of why we bother with it all. Each character, in joining this weird brotherhood of sorts, searches for what gives his/her life its meaning and makes it worth carrying on in the face of what seem to be insurmountable troubles. And it’s fairly entertaining to join them for this ride!