Juliet, Naked

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Juliet, NakedJuliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Published: 2009

Annie likes the music of obscure 80s rocker Tucker Crowe well enough, but her boyfriend Duncan is absolutely obsessed with him. He runs a fan website, gives lectures on his music, and listens to him constantly, even though Crowe hasn’t been heard from in decades. The novel begins with them away from England on holiday in America to visit important sites in the musician’s lore. They return home from this trip to find he’s finally made contact with the outside world, and this sparks some major changes in all of their lives.

The more I read from Hornby, the more of a fan I become. The premise of this book really doesn’t do much for me, but I still got sucked in. He tells his stories in such a way that there can be no action at all and yet it reads like a thriller. It just keeps dragging you along, and you never seem to find yourself in the viewpoint of a character you find dull. He really knows how to write flawed, interesting characters that you just don’t lose interest in.

For the best part of 40 years she had genuinely believed that not doing things would somehow prevent regret, when, of course, the exact opposite was true.

It’s a humourous, fun read, but it’s also a look into what celebrity does to people. It can drive fans to elevate their favourite musicians and actors from ordinary humans to mythical beings. Even before the days of the Internet, fans have had their obsessions, but being able to find a supportive online community, even for potentially obscure interests, can really fuel that obsession. I think the positives of that outweigh the negatives, but then I’m not famous and would never have to be the focus of such groups.

She stopped typing. If she’d been using pen and paper, she would have screwed the paper up in disgust, but there wasn’t a satisfying equivalent with email, seeing as everything was designed to stop you making a mistake. She needed a fuck-it key, something that made a satisfying ka-boom noise when you thumped it.

This is a terrific book. I can’t decide whether I enjoyed A Long Way Down more than this or not, but either is a great introduction to Hornby if you haven’t read anything from him.

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