2010: 118. Juliet, Naked

“They had flown from England to Minneapolis to look at a toilet.”

Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby

        I’m on the record as loving Nick Hornby, so I was naturally eager to read his new novel.  In fact, I kept trying to buy it in hardcover, except because I’m not so up on my book buying (doing most of it at the used bookshop run by the little old Bryn Mawr ladies, because I can’t really afford to buy all my books new or I’d be broke, oh poor me), I forgot about it until it was too late, and the Barnes and Noble in Georgetown had no copies, and I had to wait to buy in paperback.*  But I finally did get a copy and read it and really enjoyed it, and can’t wait until he writes something else.

        The novel is about Annie, who has drifted into a long term relationship with Duncan, mainly because they both live in the same small English town.  Duncan is obsessed with the music of Tucker Crowe, a recluse cult figure who stopped recording years ago.  When Duncan (who runs the preeminent Crowe website) gets a copy of Crowe’s album, the first in years, he lets Annie listen.  Duncan thinks the work is phenomenal, and writes a long post saying so.  Annie finds herself disagreeing and decides to write a long post critiquing the record – which not only puts a dent in her relationship with Duncan (albeit one that was a long time coming), but starts her off on an unexpected correspondence with Tucker himself.  The novel has great things to say about fandom, and art, and celebrity obsession – and is also a sweet story about relationships and figuring out who you are and what you want.  Reviewers have called this a “return to form” because Hornby is again writing about music and fandom (shades of High Fidelity and Fever Pitch), which I guess it is, but I think its about the characters as much as the music stuff, and I enjoyed it immensely.

 *Ok, I checked twice for it.  But for me, that is a lot of effort to get a newish piece of fiction – for a reader I can sometimes be sort of cavalier about seeking out things that I theoretically really want to read.  This is why I am still two books away from finishing the Agatha Christie Project

 Categories:  Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017