High Dive

  • by Jonathan Lee
  • Narrated by Doyle Gerard
  • 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Taking us inside one of the 20th century's most ambitious assassination attempts - "making history personal", as one character puts it - High Dive moves between the luxurious hospitality of a British tourist town and the troubled city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the height of the armed struggle between the Irish Republican Army and those loyal to the UK government.
Jonathan Lee has been described as "a major new voice in British fiction" (Guardian), and here, in supple prose that makes room for laughter as well as tears, he offers a darkly intimate portrait of how the ordinary unfolds into tragedy.

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What the Critics Say

"With wry wit and profound tenderness, Jonathan Lee's High Dive highlights the tensions - between hope and heartbreak, struggle and surrender - at the intersection of the mundane and the momentous. A bold, thrilling triumph of a book." (Téa Obreht, author of The Tiger's Wife)
"High Dive is a fascinating look into a troubled past. In taut scene after taut scene, with a fine style and wit among the carnage, Jonathan Lee does service to history and the novel both." (Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End)
"High Dive is a novel so smart and compassionate and beautifully written that it asks for total immersion. A reader will hold her breath for long, perfectly-paced stretches, and she will surface, dizzied, at the end." (Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Humor? Not Funny.


In maybe the strangest ever labeling of a debut novel's genre, Audible classifies HIGH DIVE as Humor Fiction. The novel is set in 1984 and centered around a luxury hotel in Brighton, England, and the IRA's plant of a bomb to detonate in a hotel room therein which the criminals think is near the one in which Prime Minister Thatcher will stay upon her visit a few weeks thereafter.

The three primary characters are an 17-18 year old Irish guy from the streets of Belfast, a middle-class 17 year old British girl who works part time for the luxury hotel in question. While the teens travel in very different worlds trying to find each's respective fit, the girl's dad, Moose, who is having a mid-life existential crisis, suffers a significant physical event.

It's a thoughtful and well written novel. Really good, not great.

The publisher's book description says it's based on real events, so I'm not giving away a spoiler by saying that the bomb's explosion, a key moment in the novel, results in casualties. Thus, in spite of Audible's categorization of this novel as "Humor," you shouldn't expect a barrel of laughs.

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- W Perry Hall ""There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays"

Painfully slow off the mark

Any additional comments?

Gerard Doyle is one of my favorite narrators, and his work here is superb as always. But after listening to the first three hours of this book, I had to abandon the effort. The problem, in a nutshell, is that nothing happens. The narrative goes on and on in great detail about characters who are not especially interesting and whose role in the plot is never made clear. I have no doubt that, somewhere along the line, a story will actually develop, but my patience was exhausted. If I still can't discern a plot after investing three hours of listening time, I prefer to cut my losses and move on to another book. A disappointing experience.

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- Moku

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-08-2016
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books