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Juliet, Naked: a novel Hardcover – September 29, 2009
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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From Publishers Weekly
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From The New Yorker
Top Customer Reviews
that it doesn't disappoint. It's really, really good, and it may even
replace High Fidelity as my favorite.
The main characters are Annie and Duncan, a middle-aged couple, and Tucker
Crowe, an aging musician in retirement. Annie and Duncan have a
relationship-ending fight about the quality of Tucker Crowe's new album,
and Annie begins a correspondence with Tucker Crowe himself.
Juliet, Naked is about Regret. Big, mid-life crisis level Regret -- grief
and anger at the too-quick passage of time, of wasted opportunities. It's
about the realization that one has not Done Enough, or Done the Right
This may sound unappetizing. But one of the rare and great features of
Nick Hornby's writing is how he takes situations that would normally be
dreary, such as a serious break-up (High Fidelity) or teenage pregnancy
(Slam), and makes these situations hilariously funny. His characters are
self-aware about themselves in some ways, but not at all in other ways.
These gaps in self-knowledge, and Hornby's gentle handling of them, are
exquisite in their subtlety and insight.
This book reminded me: (1) Do the work you love, and (2) Strive to spend
time with the people who (a) love you and (b) who you love in return.
Which of us doesn't need this reminder, always?
But I really enjoyed the first half of the novel. In particular I found Duncan (and Duncan seen through the eyes of Annie, his long suffering girlfriend) to be quite hilarious. Duncan is a fan of a relatively obscure singer/songwriter who disappeared abruptly in the mid-eighties shortly after the release of his most critically acclaimed album, Juliet. A mystic builds around the singer, Tucker Crowe, who has become a recluse in the spirit of JD Salinger. Duncan is the eminent Crowologist, an obsessive fan who maintains a web site devoted to Tucker lore, alleged sightings of the singer, and interpretations of his song lyrics. We meet Annie and Duncan while they are on vacation in the US, making pilgrimage to the bar bathroom where Tucker decided to walk away from his career.
But the novel started to lose me a little when Tucker Crowe enters the fray. After the demo tapes of Juliet are released, as a CD called Juliet Naked, Duncan writes a gushing review and posts it on his website, declaring it a masterwork. Annie posts a contrary review and soon after, she starts receiving (and then exchanging) emails from the reclusive singer.Read more ›
Hornby's newest novel, Juliet, Naked, is a wonderful, sweet book. The story focuses on three characters approaching or exiting middle aged, and how they deal with the regret of unfulfilled lives.
Duncan is a teacher who only comes to life when talking, listening to or writing about reclusive singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe. Annie is in a dead-end long-term relationship with Duncan and in a dead-end job as a seaside museum curator. And then there's Tucker Crowe, who has not recorded in over two decades and has been a disinterested observer of his own withdrawal from both his creative life.
I'll leave for you to discover how a small, uncharacteristically assertive action of Annie's - a dissenting post on Duncan's all-things-Tucker-Crowe website - sets into motion a series of events that forces all of these characters out of their respective ruts.
What's wonderful about Hornby's writing is that he understands and is compassionate towards all of his characters. You can think that Duncan is a sad, small man whose obsessive expertise regarding Crowe's small catalogue is a poor excuse for an actual life, but Hornby lets you understand how he got that way, and respects Duncan's intelligence and passion, however misapplied.Read more ›
If you read reviews at all (you probably don't because you're much more healthy than me and anyone else out there writing for the masses), please trust my honest review over all the shrill, negative reviews about this fantastic book. Of course, I fancy that I have an opinion that carries weight, and I could list my degrees and life experience here in order to establish that, but I won't because that will sound pompous and like I'm scared that I actually have nothing to offer after all. And I do. I totally do.
What I loved about this book was it's honesty. I've read all your books and I honestly struggled with the female POV you went for in How to Be Good. I felt like you missed the mark. But in Juliet, Naked, Annie was amazing. I adored her and the weaknesses she nurtured and the way she tried to outthink them. I loved that she had so many heavy regrets and wanted to undo them. I appreciated Tucker a lot, although not nearly so much as Annie. The way you captured the fade from fame and the bitterness of looking back on a series of bad choices and the redemption Tucker is looking for with his son Jackson--holy crap. It really undid me. In a good way.
I've looked over several negative reviews and I sincerely believe that people who bash this story haven't any appreciation for what you do and how you deliver characters--broken but beautiful. Each one of them is prickly enough that it would be easy to discard them for sucking so bad and for just being pure crap as an individual, but we can't. Well, at least I couldn't. Because I could see myself in them, in all the lives I haven't lived and will never live, but could imagine living.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun look at art and life and the effect of perspective on both.Published 2 months ago by RavenousReader
"Juliet, Naked" by Nick Hornby is a sweet and funny novel about friendship, loneliness, love (in all forms), and coming to terms with ones past. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jess @ From Me to You ... Book Reviews
In “Juliet, Naked” Nick Hornby returns to familiar territory – obsessive characters whose lives revolve around a specific hobby or activity, as in “High Fidelity” and “Fever... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Gary K. McCormick
I laughed a lot, enjoyed it immensely but don't think I'd say it was amazing. However I firmly plan to check out Mr. Hornby's other books. I liked his writing style and voice. Read morePublished 4 months ago by R. Blodgett
Let me be clear. I like Nick Hornby normally but he should really stick to writing about brits. I'm Funny Girl was amazing. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Team Awesomeness
This didn't have a life-changing effect on me the way High Fidelity did, but that's ok. If it happened every time, it wouldn't be as special, right? Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sam
This book is HIGHLY OVERRATED! It doesn't deserve 1 star! I love reading books written by British authors so I though thought I would enjoy Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked. Boy! Read morePublished 7 months ago by Roberta