Author: Nick Hornby
Title: Juliet, Naked
Publication Info: Riverhead Hardcover (2009)
This novel is about three people: Duncan an English man-child obsessed with an American singer/songwriter who abruptly quit show business in the 1980s, his long-suffering girlfriend Annie who is realizing that she may never have children, and the retired musician himself Tucker Crowe who is trying to raise his six-year old son after failing to be a good father to four other children. Annie & Duncan break up after Duncan’s infidelity and at the same time a review Annie posts on Duncan’s internet message board attracts the attention of Tucker. Annie & Tucker develop an online correspondence and soon – surprise – he has reason to visit England.
This novel has a lot of the same themes of Hornby’s other works – music, geeky obsessions, muddled relationships, parenting, and recognizing one’s own mortality. I really couldn’t get into to at first because the characters were annoying me especially since they kept talking about a fictional musician. 80 pages in, when Tucker finally appears, I started to warm up to it. For all his flaws, I like Tucker for his relationship with his young son (albeit if that son doesn’t seem to act 6 years old). But then the book just falls apart with far too many unlikely happenings and the characters not responding in a real way but more like sitcom characters.
Yes, I’m harsh on this book. It is an entertaining, quality brain candy read. On the other hand I know Hornby is capable of much better.