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Juliet, Naked ~ Nick Hornby

March 5, 2010

Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Riverhead
416 pages
ISBN: 9781594488870

Every now and then I come across a book that gets me. You know, like a book that you have to talk to in the middle of a quiet bookstore cafe. You’ll be sitting there and you feel like you either have to turn to the person next to you and say, “Dude, you have to read this; it’s hysterical” or you’re just going to come right out and say, aloud, to the book, “You’re good, you”.

I’ve read several good books, lately, but nothing that I felt needed to be proclaimed to my fellow bookstore sitters. That is, of course, until Juliet, Naked. It’s hilarious. I mean, a hands down, on the floor laughing, gigglefest. It might not be funny at all if you don’t know an obsessive music fan or two, anyone who participates in online chats or anyone who has ever been caught up in fan based hysteria.If you know a few, though, (I’m looking at you, rabid American Idol fans), it might just leave you tickled.

Hornby’s novel straddles the Atlantic, following a pretty museum curator, her Tucker Crowe-obsessed nerd of a boyfriend and the myth, the legend, Tucker Crowe. (For anyone who’s watched the spectacularly cheesy CW show Gossip Girl, Crowe is a dead ringer for Rufus Humphry.) What starts as a simple enough, gray enough story about a mediocre relationship in a worn out seaside town in England, becomes a courting confusion worthy of Midsummer Night’s Dream.

When Annie and Duncan call it quits after 15 years, thanks to many factors but a large one of which is Duncan’s obsession with Crowe, it sends their lives in two depressingly downward spirals. Annie’s is snagged upward, though, by a chance internet encounter with the one and only Tucker Crowe.

Between washed up relationships, washed up singers and washed up sharks, the story zigzags through watery England and Midwestern America, dragging Duncan, Tucker, Annie and a pack of illegitimate offspring and ex-wives along for the ride.

Hornby’s dialogue and inner monologue are both to die for. On first pass, they seem stark and realistic but, on second glance, they have that post-post-modern edge that makes everything absurd and witty. I’m terrified to read anything else by Hornby for fear that it will be of the same formula but I might just risk it for laughter’s sake.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2010 2:13 am

    I agree! I enjoyed it too.

  2. March 7, 2010 4:15 pm

    Have you read any of his nonfiction? I love it and it’s definitely laugh-out-loud hilarious too! Of his fiction, I’ve only read High Fidelity, which I didn’t like too much.

    • iwriteinbooks permalink*
      March 9, 2010 7:59 am

      I haven’t! I’ll have to look into it. I remember watching High Fidelity when it came out as a film and I think I was turned off from Hornby’s written stuff because of it. Good to know I wasn;t the only one.

  3. SaraKate permalink
    March 10, 2010 5:14 pm

    Clearly, I need to read this since I’m already a HUGE Nick Hornby fan. 🙂

    I’ve read High Fidelity (one of my fave books ever), About A Boy, and How To Be Good and was just talking to some other friends about how I needed to read this book soon. 🙂

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