Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

julietAnnie and Duncan have been together for fifteen years.  Has it been a waste?  Both are starting to think so, and Duncan  starts questioning his marriage as soon as he starts questioning his obsession with Tucker Crowe, a reclusive musician who hasn’t written or performed in thirty years.  After a lost Crowe recording is released, Duncan gushes about it on his Crowe fansite, and Annie answers with a wittier, better received counter-argument.  The reclusive Crowe comes across Annie’s review and initiates an email correspodence that further complicate her feelings about her husband. 

If you’ve never read a Nick Hornby book, be aware that most of them follow a certain formula:  Man w/ pop culture obsession +woman that somewhat understands it but isn’t obsessed = resentment and relationship issues.  This formula works great for Hornby because he wrenches so much conflict and insight out of these seemingly trivial pop culture obsessions.

In the end, though, it’s always the human relationships that reign supreme over pop culture detritas  in a Hornby book, and Juliet, Naked is no different.  The dialogue between the characters is authentic, and his characters are flawed enough to make them believable (although the males always seem to be just a little more hubristic than the females).

Juliet, Naked should be a satisfying read for Hornby fans and first-time Hornby readers that enjoy exploring the psychological anatomy of romantic relationships.

                                                     –Dana Zakrzewski



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