In Juliet, Naked, Duncan is obsessed with a singer-songwriter, Tucker Crowe, who hasn't recorded or even been seen in years. Annie, Duncan's girlfriend, has learned to live with this obsession. That is, until one day she decides she wants her own life. When Duncan moves out to live with another woman, Annie contacts Tucker Crowe through email. Remarkably he answers back and a relationship ensues.
This book was great. The story follows the various relationships some of which are more interesting than others. It starts off with Duncan and Annie's relationship, then progresses through Duncan's relationship with Gina, Annie's relationship with Tucker, and Tucker's relationship with Jackson. There are also Tucker's relationships (or in some cases non-relationship) with his other children and ex-wives and a few interesting side stories that keep things moving.
I enjoyed the music aspect of the book, but Duncan's obsession has him spending a great deal of time analyzing Crowe's music with other Crowologists, which was honestly lost on me. I'm amazed that people can read so much into music; I can't. I can tell you how a song makes me feel, but I generally leave the analyzing of lyrics or musical qualities to others. Having said that, I found it all interesting and the fact that I was lost didn't stop me from enjoying the book.
I loved the scenes about Fake Tucker or Fucker, as everyone called him. His antics, the situation, the mistaken identity; it seemed so absurd. It was a little jarring when little Jackson spoke his name, though. No one in the book seemed to think it was odd.
I don't know if I liked the characters all that much. I loved reading about them, but I don't think they'd be my friends. Maybe a bit too sullen for my liking. Maybe a bit too much like me. It seemed to me that most of them were lonely and looking for something more to enhance their lives. The exception being Gav and Barnsey, who were certainly an odd pair and the life of the party. Even though the characters were a bit gloomy, there's a great deal of wit in the story and it fun to read.
I really loved the ending, especially the last few pages. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on, but then I laughed out loud.
I haven't read any other book by Hornby, but of course I'd heard of him. I love discovering new-to-me authors who have a few books under their belt. That way I have more of their work to read should I like the one I'm reading. I'm definitely going to check out his other books.
For more information about this book, please visit the Penguin website.
For more information about the author or her other book, please visit Nick Hornby's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at Penguin Canada for this review copy.
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby, Riverhead Books (Penguin Group), ©2009. ISBN 9781594488870(Uncorrect Proof), 405p.