This is another excellent novel from Nick Hornby who has yet to write anything that I have not enjoyed. It is the story of four very different characters.
Maureen is a downtrodden single parent whose life is dedicated to caring for her severely disabled son. Martin is an obnoxious daytime TV presenter who has been the subject of a high profile sex scandal. JJ is a musician who always wanted to be a rock star but now deliver pizzas. Jess is an impulsive teenage tearaway. It is hard to imagine a group with less in common.
What does bring them together is a tower block - Toppers House - in London on New Years Eve where each arrives intending to leap to their doom. They inevitably discuss what has brought them there. I must say that I feared that they would understand each others pain and then hug each other living happily ever after in a community. But they don't. In fact whenever I thought I knew where it was going it went off in a different direction. Never predictable and never dull.
They are certainly not a likeable bunch. Why else would they be at Toppers House in the first place? But they are a fascinating group of oddballs and their mutual dependency is both touching and amusing. The subject matter is never trivialised even though there are several laugh out loud moments. The writing is always excellent.
Don't be put off by the gloomy subject matter. This is his best to date and should not be missed.