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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.