Juliet, Naked: Book summary and reviews of Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

Juliet, Naked

a novel

By Nick Hornby

Juliet, Naked
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2009,
    416 pages.

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Book Summary

Annie loves Duncan—or thinks she does. Duncan loves Annie, but then, all of a sudden, he doesn’t. Duncan really loves Tucker Crowe, a reclusive Dylanish singer-songwriter who stopped making music ten years ago. Annie stops loving Duncan, and starts getting her own life.

In doing so, she initiates an e-mail correspondence with Tucker, and a connection is forged between two lonely people who are looking for more out of what they've got. Tucker's been languishing (and he's unnervingly aware of it), living in rural Pennsylvania with what he sees as his one hope for redemption amid a life of emotional and artistic ruin—his young son, Jackson. But then there's also the new material he's about to release to the world: an acoustic, stripped-down version of his greatest album, Juliet—entitled, Juliet, Naked.

What happens when a washed-up musician looks for another chance? And miles away, a restless, childless woman looks for a change? Juliet, Naked is a powerfully engrossing, humblingly humorous novel about music, love, loneliness, and the struggle to live up to one's promise.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Fans of High Fidelity, perhaps Hornby's most popular book, will enjoy this related take on the lives of the musically obsessed. A wise, witty, and bittersweet novel." - Booklist

"Hornby narrowly avoids a schmultzfest but leaves readers with too many questions...The author's deft humor is mostly absent...." - Library Journal

"Few can match the muted humor, lingering poignancy and depth with which Hornby limns his forgivably human characters." - Kirkus Reviews

"Pick of the Week" - Publishers Weekly

"A more treacly writer than Mr. Hornby would engineer new happiness for…these characters. But in its diffident way, Juliet, Naked is as candid as the unplugged music on 'Naked.' It knows its characters too well to lie about them." - The New York Times - Janet Maslin

"Nick Hornby's charming new novel about love and music, sounds like a song we've heard before, but who's complaining? After all, we always expect Bruce Springsteen to sound like Bruce Springsteen, and we want him to play 'Glory Days' over and over again. In the same spirit, Juliet, Naked echoes the melodies we know from High Fidelity, Hornby's breakout novel…about a lovelorn music fanatic. Nobody captures the zealous devotion and bizarre intensity of amateur music snobs better…He gently satirizes rockaphiles in a way that only endears him to them, and though this new novel will appeal to a broad audience for romantic comedy, anyone with a fading poster of Van Morrison will hum along, too." - The Washington Post - Ron Charles

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
A delightful read.
Juliet, Naked is the seventh novel by British author, Nick Hornby. Thirty-nine-year-old former teacher, Annie Platt is curator of the museum in Gooleness, a dead-end seaside town in the north of England. Duncan, her partner of some fifteen years, is a teacher and the moderator of a website dedicated to a reclusive American singer/songwriter from the nineteen-eighties, Tucker Crowe. Annie has been telling her (rather too judgemental) therapist, Malcolm every Saturday morning that she feels dissatisfied with her relationship, her job, her life. As she thinks about fifteen wasted years with Duncan and wishes for a baby, events conspire to suddenly put her in contact with the elusive Tucker Crowe. Since Tucker’s disappearance from the music scene, the internet chat rooms have been buzzing speculation about the cause of his withdrawal, and reported sightings, none of it remotely close to the truth. Hornby employs narrations from his three main characters as well as Wikipedia entries, emails and website discussion group posts to tell his tale. His characters are realistically flawed, multi-dimensional and appealing: even the nerdy Duncan will strike a chord with readers. As well as examining the fine line between passion and obsession, Hornby touches on the right to privacy, settling for what is convenient and acting responsibly. This novel comments perceptively on the often ridiculous over-analysis in which scholars, connoisseurs and self-styled experts of music, wine, sport, art and literature habitually indulge, when discussing the object of their fervour. Hornby treats the reader to some marvelously descriptive prose: “Consistency and repetition were beginning to make the lie feel something like the truth, in the way that a path eventually becomes a path, if enough people walk along it” and “Mumbled greetings were formed in his sons’ throats and emitted with not quite enough force to reach him; they dropped somewhere on the floor at the end of the bed, left for the cleaners to sweep up” are just two examples. There are some thought-provoking themes, an abundance of laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of wit. A delightful read.

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Author Information

Nick Hornby Author Biography

Nick Hornby is the author of the novels How to Be Good (a New York Times bestseller), High Fidelity, About a Boy and A Long Way Down, and of the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters E. M. Forster Award, and the Orange Word International Writers London Award 2003.

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