Thursday, June 03, 2010

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby (Book Review)

I first discovered Nick Hornby after a friend recommended I read High Fidelity. Like so many readers, I immediately loved the book and it quickly became one of my all-time favorites, in large part because Hornby centered the novel around pop music.

When I heard Hornby was returning to his roots in Juliet, Naked, with a new book about music and obsessive music fandom, I couldn't wait to read it.

In large part, Juliet, Naked delivers, and like almost every Hornby effort, the book is very readable and entertaining, with believable characters and crisp, funny dialogue. But High Fidelity it definitely is not. This book is darker and far more focused on regret and wasted time and youth. Duncan (the fan), Annie (Duncan's partner), and Tucker (the ex-rock star) are the three focus characters and have all arrived at middle-age with varying levels of regret at the time they wasted and how their lives turned out.

While you can argue that High Fidelity touched on the exact same themes, the characters in Juliet, Naked seemed stuck and unable to move past their regret, and they just weren't as interesting as Rob Gordon and the supporting cast in High Fidelity. Perhaps this is because Rob, for all his faults and top five lists, gets it in the end and moves on and grows, and that story is funnier and more affirming for it.

I do recommend Juliet, Naked, but I would steer new Hornby readers to his classic
High Fidelity first.

Reviews of Other Nick Hornby Books

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Slam by Nick Hornby

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