By Joseph Olshan
Updated September 08, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Rob, who owns a record shop in North London, has been dumped by his girlfriend, Laura, and he basically deserves it. But the pain of losing her is making him wise up quickly, as he realizes that the double standards of romantic behavior will no longer buy him even a moment of bliss. We’re right there with him as he gives a rendition of his greatest romantic hits, the ultimately unsuccessful relationships that have led up to Laura. Nick Hornby, a well-known and respected London journalist, has written a candid and comic first novel that bumps along like a diamond needle over the flawed vinyl album of Rob’s life. The price of purchase includes wry observations about contemporary life as a single man, as well as some haunting romantic blues. A-

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