Nick Hornby returns to his roots-music and messy relationships-in this funny and touching new novel which thoughtfully and sympathetically looks at how lives can be wasted but how they are never beyond redemption. Annie lives in a dull town on England’s bleak east coast and is in a relationship with Duncan which mirrors the place; Tucker was once a brilliant songwriter and performer, who’s gone into seclusion in rural America-or at least that’s what his fans think. Duncan is obsessed with Tucker’s work, to the point of derangement, and when Annie dares to go public on her dislike of his latest album, there are quite unexpected, life-changing consequences for all three.
Nick Hornby uses this intriguing canvas to explore why it is we so often let the early promise of relationships, ambition and indeed life evaporate. And he comes to some surprisingly optimistic conclusions about the struggle to live up to one’s promise.
I love all things Nick Hornby! I did not want this book to end.
Juliet, Naked is written from the perspectives of a 30-something woman named Annie and an aging musician, Tucker Crowe. Their stories are about love (romantic and familial) and regret.
Annie, who lives with her long-time boyfriend Duncan, finds herself unhappy in her relationship and her job and is in therapy. Duncan has devoted years of his life to studying the works of the mysterious Tucker Crowe, and the couple’s blow up argument over Annie’s review of a Tucker Crowe album leads to their break-up.
Tucker is a burned out musician who disappeared from the music scene just as his career was taking off. He then went from relationship to relationship, creating several children over the years with different women, leading to another divorce which leaves him the single father of a 6-year-old boy.
Ironically, Annie connects with Tucker after he reads the review she posted online about his album and this connection changes both of their lives.
Although regret is one of the major themes in the book, it is not as dreary as it sounds. Annie and Tucker have regrets about the choices they have made in their lives, but they discover that their paths can be altered by making different choices now.
If you like other Nick Hornby books (How to Be Good, High Fidelity, About a Boy), you’ll like Juliet, Naked, too.