Adult Fiction, River Dog Recommends

River Dog Reads: JULIET, NAKED by Nick Hornby (+trailer preview!)

Earlier today, I watched the just released trailer for the movie, Juliet, Naked, based on the Nick Hornby book of the same title. First, let me make it clear that I’m a huge Nick Hornby fan. High Fidelity is one of my favorite books and movies of all time. Like, in the top ten list for both mediums. I also love his columns for The Believer, catalogued in the series of essays that begins with The Polysyllabic Spree. I highly recommend reading all three of the books in that essay collection.

Nick Hornby titles

Okay, I highly recommend reading his work in general. As you will probably be able to tell by this review:

juliet, nakedJuliet, Naked
Nick Hornby

River Dog Review: What I love most about this book is that it harkens back to the quirky, witty, brutally honest self-reflection, and sweet triumph of Nick Hornby’s early works, like the great High Fidelity.

Duncan, a music buff in England obsessed with the work of American song-writer Tucker Crowe, discovers Tucker’s latest work, an album of stripped-down recordings called Juliet, Naked. Unfortunately, his girlfriend, Annie, doesn’t love it so much. This brings into sharp relief that Duncan and Annie may or may not love each other as much as they thought they did.

In a lovely plot twist, it is Annie, not Duncan, who gets in touch with Tucker. Tucker has been hiding away in America, ignoring his cult-rock-star fandom, in order to take care of his equally gifted young son. In typical Nick Hornby-style, Tucker is exceedingly aware of his faults as a human, a husband, a father, and a musician, but still has a spark of greatness about him. Annie is just discovering what it means to have her own life and her own opinions, and as all great love stories go, these two people begin to find out it isn’t too late for them – in life or in love or in music – after all.

There’s something voyeuristic about reading the way Nick Hornby writes about middle-aged (or approaching middle-aged) male emotions. It’s so brutally honest about hopes and fears, regrets and failures, triumphs and hopes. Though there are sad moments, overall the story is one of inspiration in many forms.

Publisher Description: Nick Hornby returns to his roots–music and messy relationships–in this funny and touching novel that thoughtfully and sympathetically looks at how lives can be wasted but how they are never beyond redemption. Annie lives in a dull town on England’s bleak east coast and is in a relationship with Duncan that mirrors the place; Tucker, once a brilliant songwriter and performer, has gone into seclusion in rural America–or at least that’s what his fans think. Duncan is obsessed with Tucker’s work to the point of derangement, and when Annie dares to go public on her dislike of his latest album, there are quite unexpected, life-changing consequences for all three.Nick Hornby uses this intriguing canvas to explore why it is we so often let the early promise of relationships, ambition, and indeed life, evaporate. And he comes to some surprisingly optimistic conclusions about the struggle to live up to one’s promise.


Enjoy the trailer! Similar to High Fidelity, I suspect I will also enjoy this movie as much as I did the book.

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