“One thing about great art: it made you love people more, forgive them their petty transgressions. It worked in the way that religion was supposed to, if you thought about it.” –from Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked
Title: Juliet, Naked // Author: Nick Hornby // Publisher: Riverhead Books // Pub. Date: September 29, 2009 // 416 p.
I’m allowed to gush openly here about books I love, right? Good. Because when you write about books for publications that are not your own blog, you have to temper yourself somewhat. Like you can’t just come out and say that a book makes you smile from the innermost depths of your soul or that a book is so good, you think it’s better than you’re recent favorite thing in life: matcha green tea lattes sweetened with agave nectar. But since this is my site, I can say wholeheartedly that Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked did make me smile a deep, soulful grin, and it rivaled my best matcha latte. It also kept me up reading late at night with a headlamp on one of my recent climbing trips. This book had me so enthralled that I read it within two days and turned the final page still wanting more.
In Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby returns to the themes for which he is known and loved: flailing relationships, unfulfilled dreams, and an obsessive passion for music. Juliet, Naked’s flailing relationship belongs to Annie and Duncan, a couple of fifteen years who live in the sleepy seaside town of Gooleness, England. Duncan’s obsessively passionate about the work of a musician named Tucker Crowe, who disappeared from the music scene more than twenty years earlier. Crowe quit music cold-turkey in the middle of his Juliet tour and hadn’t been heard of since. But when he releases an acoustic version of that album—Juliet, Naked—it startles his fans into a frenzy and has unexpected consequences for Annie and Duncan.
Nick Hornby is a master of metaphor, and in Juliet, Naked, readers will ooh and ahhh at the way he plays with words. Final thought(s): Juliet, Naked is quirky and funny and smart and—above all—heart-piercingly true.
CLICK HERE for a link to my more emotionally-tempered review of Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked on the About.com Contemporary Literature website.
Photo: Riverhead Books.