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Juliet, Naked: a novel

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Juliet, Naked is the seventh novel by British author, Nick Hornb

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 mo...
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 marvellously 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. 

posted by cloggiedownunder on June 28, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

My first Hornby

Read this book in galleys and, after a slow start, couldn't help liking it. As with a lot of people, I suppose, I've enjoyed movie adaptations of Hornby's books (e.g., High Fidelity and About a Boy) without ever turning to the books themselves. I confess I spent a lot...
Read this book in galleys and, after a slow start, couldn't help liking it. As with a lot of people, I suppose, I've enjoyed movie adaptations of Hornby's books (e.g., High Fidelity and About a Boy) without ever turning to the books themselves. I confess I spent a lot of time reading Juliet, Naked envisioning it as a movie (I'll go on record predicting that Emma Thompson will play Anne), and I suspect Hornby does the same. But that's a good thing. His writing is direct, uncomplicated, unshowy -- almost unliterary, if you will. And thanks to his characters mostly being in "the middle way" -- that is, older than younger -- as I am I may have appreciated it more than would someone, say, under 30 (or maybe even 40). That said, though it focuses on a fictional washed up American pop singer you needn't be a huge music fan to appreciate the story line. Similarly, the English Hornby does a fine job of handling the collision of English and American characters and their preconceptions and prejudices. So give it a go, and if you're impatient after 50 pages try another 50. Hornby takes a while to warm up. But when he does, I found his characters and their issues involving and entertaining.

posted by BNMerch_Man on September 29, 2009

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    My first Hornby

    Read this book in galleys and, after a slow start, couldn't help liking it. As with a lot of people, I suppose, I've enjoyed movie adaptations of Hornby's books (e.g., High Fidelity and About a Boy) without ever turning to the books themselves. I confess I spent a lot of time reading Juliet, Naked envisioning it as a movie (I'll go on record predicting that Emma Thompson will play Anne), and I suspect Hornby does the same. But that's a good thing. His writing is direct, uncomplicated, unshowy -- almost unliterary, if you will. And thanks to his characters mostly being in "the middle way" -- that is, older than younger -- as I am I may have appreciated it more than would someone, say, under 30 (or maybe even 40). That said, though it focuses on a fictional washed up American pop singer you needn't be a huge music fan to appreciate the story line. Similarly, the English Hornby does a fine job of handling the collision of English and American characters and their preconceptions and prejudices. So give it a go, and if you're impatient after 50 pages try another 50. Hornby takes a while to warm up. But when he does, I found his characters and their issues involving and entertaining.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2014

    Juliet, Naked is the seventh novel by British author, Nick Hornb

    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 marvellously 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. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2009

    Another Page Turner from Hornby

    I've read most of Hornby's novels and have been a fan since reading the first. As with the other books, I grew attached to the main characters and was sorry to have the story end knowing I wouldn't "see" them again.

    I actually did the audiobook which was fabulous because of the accents and I found myself more than once laughing out loud. I would leave for work in a hurry just so I could get back to listening to the CD in my car! Nick Hornby is very witty and now I am back in the waiting mode for his next book to come along.

    Regarding a movie version of Juliet, Naked - Emma Thompson is 50 and older than Annie and I don't see that at all (and I'm an Emma fan - just don't see her as Annie).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2013

    Meh. I like Hornsby's work, but this wasn't my favorite novel.

    Meh. I like Hornsby's work, but this wasn't my favorite novel. I think he writes great dialogue, and it's definitely readable. However, I thought the last half fell a bit flat.

    Hornsby is usually great at crafting characters you'll care about. I felt for Annie, hoping she'd find what she needed in love and get on with her life. I found Duncan both despicable and pityable. He's the sort of buffoon you love to see fail. I thought he was well-written in a comic, butt-of-the-joke sort of way.

    Unfortunately, Tucker was the character I related to the least. I think I the book would have resonated more with me if I'd gotten him better. However, I thought he seem selfish, didn't have enough complexity, and was....well, boring.

    I like what the book had to say about the creation of art. It's interesting to analyze how bad people can make good art. Also, it says a lot about how the internet lets people obsess over their celeb of choice. That's often an unhealthy thing, but for the artist and the obsessed.

    Some of the peripheral parts of the book had me skimming...the nightclub dancers, the art gallery exhibition, etc. They didn't have enough meat to keep me caring.

    I wish the last half of the book had more oomph. I wasn't content with the ending. There were too many questions left unanswered for me.

    Even with all those complaints, Hornsby is still a fun storyteller. He's great with dialogue, and the book would be good on a plane. It's funny and light, just don't expect the earth to move.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    You must check it out!

    Highly recommend this one. Check it out. If liked High Fidelity you'll like this book. I would recommend this book for a book club discussion on books with a musical theme.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    Not his best novel...

    Far from one of Horny's best reads. I'll simply say it's just okay.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Great read

    Loved this

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    I couldn't put it down!

    I started reading Juliet, Naked last night, but fell asleep around two in the morning due to exhaustion. The first thing I did when I woke up? Started from where I had left off. The book is well-written, witty, and had a wonderful use of comedy to ease the conflict. The characters have so much depth, there's not a Mary Sue or Gary Stu within the pages. They all have flaws they're trying to come to terms with. Even Tucker's son, six-year-old Jackson, says the most entertaining things. It's definitely a book where you'll be reading and Hornby has written something so magnificent you want to write it down or contemplate it for a few minutes. The plot can be predictable at times, but ultimately you'll be too absorbed in his writing that what's predictable seems to hold little of importance and what you never saw coming seems all the more shocking. I would recommend the novel to ANYONE!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2011

    another classic Nick Hornby

    Loved it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2011

    "Malodorous."

    Hornby uses the word "malodorous" three times in this book -- and I shall use it once here to describe this book overall.

    Hornby does a decent job setting up the characters. Duncan is daft. Annie is wonderful. But Tucker was recycled from About A Boy -- a used up songwriter.

    Why I am giving this book such a poor review is the ending. It seems that, if I invested the time to follow the lives of these three characters, that investment should at least be paid off with a clear sense of where they are going at the end. A sense of finality. Instead, after reading the book, I feel the same existential angst that Annie has through the book -- that I have wasted my time.

    Annie called Crowe on his uninspired performance, and I'm doing the same here with Hornby. This is not his best work. When I saw the name "Horby", I expected more.

    Two stars from me -- at least Hornby still gets those moments of poignancy right.

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  • Posted November 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Another Hornby Classic

    "That seemed like an ambition, of sorts: to get to a stage where she wanted to hang herself because putting a T-shirt on a child's bed seemed indicative of the slow and painful death of the spirit. At the moment, she wanted to hang herself because it seemed like the first tiny glimmers of a rebirth." (pg. 376)


    As I was perusing the book stands last weekend, I stumbled upon Nick Hornby's latest novel, Juliet Naked. An avid High Fidelity fan (both the book and the movie), I was eager to pick up Hornby's new book and devour it immediately.

    Juliet, Naked is so essential Hornby that you could pick it up with the author's name scrubbed out and still know it was him. His writing is straightforward, thoughtful, and easy. But isn't easy to be confused with lack of depth, because in his easy writing comes alive three characters fleshed out to their basest level, giving readers a look into the lives of very different people with one thing in common: Tucker Crowe.

    Tucker Crowe is the focal point of the book. Crowe is a former 80's rock star with a cult following due to his twenty-year disappearance. As with many Hornby novels, he describes Crowe's music, lyrics, and sound with such authenticity that you start to believe that Crowe was an actual musician, with Hornby writing the biography. I'm continually amazed with Hornby's ability to stay within a particular few genres of music from book to book and still maintain a level of curiosity in his characters. It's almost sad that there wasn't a soundtrack to go along with this of Crowe's music.

    The essence of a good book, to me, is the internal struggle that a character feels. However, the genius comes in when the author doesn't make it hard to see into that while at the same time not dumbing anything down. Hornby is a master at this, especially one-liners that are so basic but are packed with pounds of meaning. A cousin of this are his statements of profound insight, presented in a non-pretentious and warm way:

    "But then that's what art is, sometimes, he always felt: something that confers advantages" (pg. 347-348).

    Hornby's English wit comes across like a siren on a fire truck, but is also masterful in his American comedy, making the transition between the two seamless and natural. And, as he is known, he can portray the thoughts and actions of a child in some of the most realistic situations, providing a wonderfully realistic landscape for relationships with all the supporting roles.

    Overall it's a great read for fans of Hornby's writing. I hate to think this, but unfortunately some of his writing may be seen as overdramatic and pompous if you don't view music as a vehicle for change or a heavy instrument producing significant life lessons. What I'm saying is that you have to love music to appreciate his writing, plain and simple.

    Pick it up if you can. It's a quick read at 406 pages and I finished in about three days. Up next: The Help.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I Love this book and I love Nick Hornby!!!

    "Juliet, Naked," is an amazing book. I love love love it!!! It starts off with Annie and Duncan who seem to be a happy English couple roaming around the United States on vacation. Early on in the novel it turns out that Annie craves a baby that Duncan cannot deliver, or is too delusional, and wrapped up in his own obsession with Tucker Crowe, a Dylan-esque recluse that has been silent for 20 years. Duncan has an online community where he is the guru on Tucker Crowe, when he wasn't that big of a performer to begin with. Evidently, Crowe had some sort of epiphany in a Minnesota bar bathroom, supposedly, that caused this 20 year hiatus. In the meantime Annie disagrees with Duncan's obsession and writes her own review of a bootleg copy of an acoustic, raw version of Tucker's hit "Juliet." Annie and Duncan have been in a 15 year relationship that has been going nowhere, Duncan has an affair and the affair breaks up. This coincides with the ending of Crowe's relationship, and the meeting(s) of one of his five children. Crowe finds himself in London when one of his daughters is in distress, and has a heart attack. I really didn't do the book justice, because it is just that amazing. You will have to read the book to find out what happens. This books is creative and original.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Juliet Naked Exposed

    Nick Hornby, the pop music novelist of the 80s generation, has done it again! "Juliet Naked" tells the fictional story of a retired eighties music icon, the faraway girlfriend of an obsessed fan, and what happens when they meet.

    Horby is a master at creating interesting, offbeat characters. This novel is no exception. Although the characters are quirky, they are sympathetic because he adds endearing, realistic qualities.

    While the story is not a page-turner at first, as the reader gets to know the characters, the story moves along at a good pace. I finished this book in one day.

    Horby is great at visuals. I am looking forward to a film adaptation!

    I would recommend this novel to bookclubs and individual readers alike. The issues about relationships, artists, success and fear of failure, and intimacy are prime for discussion.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    Ho hum

    I bought this for a trip from the east to west coast, and it was suitable for that venture. At that moment, I could relate to the synopsis on the book jacket, being a middle-aged woman flying west to visit with an aging rocker friend. The story is nothing spectacular...basically a quick read if you have nothing else. The story moves along, but it's not remarkable...and even a bit predictable. The writing style is not challenging, and the characters are sort of treacly and flat.

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    I have read better Hornby...

    Nick Hornby is one of my favorite authors, so when I saw Juliet, Naked I picked it up right away. I was disappointed by this one and had a very hard time getting through it. I travel a lot, so only took it on the plane to read and ended up putting it down because it just didn't grab me. I was determined however, to see it through to the end and finally completed it four months after first picking it up.

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another masterpiece by Nick Hornby

    He just gets it. All of his books have interesting plots, characters and twists. I especially loved this one and the fact he used the names "Tucker Crowe" and "Jackson Crowe" as two of the lead characters in the book - very ironic on a book about aging rockers that had a small following. The story moved along so easily and without the usual hiccups as in some other novels that I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. From beginning to end so very satisfying. I receommend it to anyone.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Hornby does it again!

    Nick has continued to perpetuate his legend once again. His flawless prose and ceaseless creativity results in yet another masterpiece. His ability to develop relatable, loveable, hopelessly romantic, and above all, darkly comedic characters has a draw for almost any reader. Juliet, Naked is an examination of how regret over paths not taken, enthusiansm over the unimportant, and pure old fashioned chance, all play a part in discovering who we are cabable of being, not who we already are.
    Love it.

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  • Posted November 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Juliet, Naked

    I think by this point, most readers are already Nick Hornby fans, but I have been recommending the book out to those who are not in the know, although, I think A Long Way Down is a better "first time" for Hornby virgins. This book had all the great Hornbyisms..the sarcasim, constant internal struggles of self understanding, and an understated hipness. He sees things for what they really are and his characters are so real because of it.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Nick Horby is back and better than ever!

    I've read of all of Nick Hornby's books, and the film version of "High Fidelity" is my favorite movie of all time, so when I heard Horby was releasing another music-themed book, I was ecstatic. It was not quite what I expected, but once again Horny's grasp of relationships and human behavior is spell-binding and hilarious, with a touch of painful reality at times, too. Definitely check out "Juliet Naked" if you're a Hornby fan!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    Enjoyable, but not his best

    Hornby is one of the authors I always enjoy, and I got "Juliet, Naked" as soon as I saw it at B&N. It was good, but not great, not what I've come to expect from Hornby. Also, it's on the short side, so it's a pretty quick read. I enjoyed the book -- interesting situations, quirky characters -- but overall I was a bit disappointed.

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