Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby

Duncan’s life is centred on his obsession with musician Tucker Crowe. His idea of a good holiday is a pilgrimage visiting sites of “relevance” to Crowe’s career.

Juliet is Crowe’s most successful album, after which he disappeared into anonymity, until the internet gave a platform for a few widespread fans to air their views on his career and to spread theories about his current situation and whereabouts.

A recording of demo tapes made before the hard production work turned Juliet into a more polished and commercial product is released with the title Juliet Naked, and the internet discussion spurred by the album changes relationships, breaking some and creating new ones. The obsession that has given Duncan a sense of purpose for decades eventually brings to an end the certainty and security that he’s taken for granted.

I can partly recognise in Duncan a more extreme example of my younger self and how deeply I could get caught up with a favoured singer or group. How in my early teens I would continually switch radio stations, trying to hear Suzi Quatro’s 48 Crash again and again. Or how, almost two decades later, I’d listen to Roaring Jack’s Cat Among the Pigeons at least once every day; and drive a 160km round trip every Thursday night to see them perform at a Newtown pub.

But one aspect of the book portrays a reality far different to my own attitudes: an aspect that depicts today’s society and human relationships in a not too flattering light.

While Juliet Naked is not the risqué book that the title might suggest, part of the book does portray a very casual attitude to sex, as if it’s merely a form of recreation or entertainment, like going out for a drink or a meal. Just another form of personal gratification devoid of love or commitment or even the thought of shared experience. Potential sexual partners are seen as a means to a personal end

In this I see a sad symptom of the shallowness of an “it’s all about me” society where individuals feel it unnecessary to look beyond themselves and their own “needs”.

4 thoughts on “Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby

  1. Well-written review, I mean it was interesting to read. Mostly, though (and that’s not to take away from my really thinking it’s a good review), I want to thank you for your blogs. It’s quite pleasant to be able to read something written by a friend a day here and a day there. Particularly today, I was hoping to find a new entry to enjoy for a few moments.

  2. Hi Marleen, anyone who has read the book will probably think I haven’t done it justice – how good is a review that doesn’t even mention a book’s primary character? The book is more about Duncan’s partner/girlfriend Annie than about him, and yet my “review” concentrated on him.

    But when I write about the books I’ve read I’m interested in addressing the effect a book had on me as I read it, Such as, what does it make me think about or how does it make me feel?

    I think I don’t write as often as I could. Most of the books I read don’t get a “review”. Thats’ partly because I’m not interested in just saying what a book was about, or giving a synopsis of a story, or whether it’s one I’d recommend.

    I have to feel like I have something to say beyond all of those things.

    And thank you for being a constant visitor to my blog(s) – it’s good to know at least one person takes the time to read what I have to say.

  3. It’s true, I haven’t read the book. I wasn’t familiar with the music you mentioned either; but that was easy to find (after I’d written here). [I had just a few days ago been thinking in discussion with someone about early solo(ish) [main feature] female rock musicians, incidentally; apparently Suzi was before the ones we thought of. I hadn’t remembered but do remember her being on a Happy Days episode. I’m kinda’ curious as to a movie being done or already done (I suppose I could look into it if I become interested enough) about Joan Jett (even though I wasn’t really a fan, more so of Heart). I didn’t really know of Quatro at all.] There’s no way I’ll ever read as many books as you do. So I prefer the way you approach the endeavor of writing with regard to what yo read. I did buy an e-copy of that last book (well, the first in the series of Winter). I’m wondering what is going to be conveyed.

  4. Okay, credit where credit is due; Ann and Nancy weren’t the original core. That (Heart) was definitely a group effort, but I’m impressed with the musicianship of the guys who started it. Sometimes it’s funny to look back and see how not knowing I was.

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