Friday, May 27, 2016

'Juliet, Naked' by Nick Hornby

27 May 2016

The writer Nick Hornby is well known for his fascination with popular music – from his brilliant first novel 'High Fidelity' (1995) to his compelling non-fiction book '31 Songs' (2003) (which leaves you desperate to listen to Stevie Wonder's 'Songs in the Key of Life'). In October last year I saw Hornby interviewing Elvis Costello at the Royal Festival Hall in London (reviewed here in October 2015). So I was fascinated recently to discover Nick Hornby's 2009 novel 'Juliet, Naked' which focusses on an obsessive fan of fictional singer-songwriter, Tucker Crowe – a hybrid of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen who mysteriously disappeared into obscurity more than 20 years ago. I had somehow missed this Nick Hornby novel which came out before his tale of 1960s television 'Funny Girl' (reviewed here in January 2015). 'Juliet, Naked' is familiar Hornby territory, dealing with fandom, obsession and relationships. It's an easy, enjoyable and funny read which smuggles in some serious themes. It felt like a more mature work than some earlier Nick Hornby novels – with fewer hilarious set-piece comic scenes and not afraid of leaving some loose ends dangling. The ending left me wanting more but maybe that is a sign of the author's success.



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