04 February 2011

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

Audio CD, 8 disks (9 hours)
Published September 29th 2009 by Riverhead Hardcover
ISBN:  1594488878 (ISBN13: 9781594488870)
primary language:  English
original title:  Juliet, Naked
literary awards:  Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2009)
4.5 stars overall / 4 stars audio narration

Annie loves Duncan — or thinks she does. Duncan loves Annie, but then, all of a sudden, he doesn't. Duncan really loves Tucker Crowe, a reclusive Dylanish singer-songwriter who stopped making music ten years ago. Annie stops loving Duncan, and starts getting her own life.

In doing so, she initiates an e-mail correspondence with Tucker, and a connection is forged between two lonely people who are looking for more out of what they've got. Tucker's been languishing (and he's unnervingly aware of it), living in rural Pennsylvania with what he sees as his one hope for redemption amid a life of emotional and artistic ruin-his young son, Jackson. But then there's also the new material he's about to release to the world: an acoustic, stripped-down version of his greatest album,Juliet — entitled, Juliet, Naked.

What happens when a washed-up musician looks for another chance? And miles away, a restless, childless woman looks for a change? Juliet, Naked is a powerfully engrossing, humblingly humorous novel about music, love, loneliness, and the struggle to live up to one's promise.

My thoughts:
** spoiler alert ** I thoroughly enjoyed this book...all the way to the end, but what a TERRIBLE way to end the book. The story was fairly well fleshed out, and I loved that Annie really comes into her own at the end, but the abruptness of the ending was definitely a big negative. I kept thinking there had to be a little more, but no, that was it, so the reader is left to conclude what? Sure, Tucker Crowe releases another album that is panned by fans & critics alike, because of the lack of angst in the music. But the "why" of it is frustrating because it remains completely unexplained. Further, since the book was as much (or more) about Annie's growth as anything else, being left with her simply walking out of the therapist's office, but without any other definitive action following that, is completely annoying. It wasn't necessary for her action to be huge, but something more than the "I'm done with counseling, then end" would have been nice.

On the up side, Hornby's writing is really, really engaging, so I'm pumped to read more of his books.

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