Thursday, September 3, 2009

EARLY Review: Juliet, Naked

“Naked” is a powerful word. I have read three different books with that word in the title and each time I received a reaction from people around me. “You’re reading The Naked Typist? Pervert.” (Why am I called the pervert and not Parnell Hall?) “Haha! Austin’s reading Naked! Get it? Get it?” (Yes. I get it.) Now with this book it’s a whole dialog:

Dude: What are you reading?

Austin: Juliet, Naked.

Dude: Yeah, you are!

Of course in this sense of the word, “naked” refers to the musical definition. Yet in the context of the book, the naked element still gathers a powerful reaction. Tucker Crowe is a musician with a small cult following. He was big in the 80s, but mysteriously hasn’t released any music for over twenty years. Then out-of-the-blue an acoustic version of his most popular album Juliet is released entitled Juliet Naked. Duncan is among the cult of Crowe, yet he’s more of an obsessed fanboy. He completely gushes over the new album and immediately rushes to the Internet to spread his opinions. (Loser.) His long-term girlfriend, Annie, has been growing tired of being the second love in Duncan’s life and doesn’t see what the big deal is about the new album.

Nick Hornby has always been an author who has created a realistic feel for older twenty-somethings. He’s almost a John Hughes for an older British crowd. He returns to more of his themes seen in High Fidelity but in a fresh way. His creations of Duncan, Annie, and Tucker were so strong that I wasn’t bothered the novel wasn’t too heavy on plot. I was satisfied in all of their actions and reactions, especially the book’s finale. I don’t want to say this is a return to form for Hornby because I don’t think he ever went astray. Let’s just say this: Not since his early work, have I enjoyed one of his novels so much.

Juliet, Naked comes out on September 29th.

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