Juliet, Naked. By Nick Hornby. 2009. [September 2009] Penguin. 352 pages.
They had flown from England to Minneapolis to look at a toilet.
This was my very first Nick Hornby, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. But with a first sentence like that, I just had to know more. It helped that I'd heard great things about the author. But still. I can't deny that it was reading the first sentence, the first few paragraphs, that made this one a "must" to take home with me.
Juliet, Naked is an un-romance in a way. It looks more at the lives of couples who are falling out of love than those who are falling in love. In particular, it is the story of how Annie and Duncan finally parted ways. Our narrator, for the most part, is Annie. And we see Duncan mainly through her eyes. And what we see is a grown man who is beyond obsessed, almost stalkerish even, with his obsession for the now-retired-and-reclusive singer from the 80s. Tucker Crowe. The first section of the book deals with their trip to America, they are "touring" all the places Crowe has been, all the "significant" moments in his life, as they know them, at least.
Juliet is the title of Crowe's most famous album. In 2008, for the first time in decades (I think since 1986) there will be a "new" Crowe album, this one entitled Juliet, Naked. It is an album of the demos, the unpolished recordings from the Juliet sessions. Annie and Duncan both listen to the album--though Annie does the unthinkable (gasp!!!) and listens to it first, without him--and both write reviews for the 'official' fan site. Two very different reviews I might add. But only one will receive a personal message from Crowe himself.
I really enjoyed this one. I couldn't put it down. It just worked for me, and I can't quite explain why.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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