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 10 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.
©2009 Nick Hornby; (P)2009 Penguin
The newest penned novel by Nick Hornby was worth the listen, as much as any of his earlier stories (About a Boy, A Long Way Down, etc.) have been...and in that same quirky, "hip" way. It's a current day story for folks born in the 60s that mirrors current day life, technology and thought process. Anglophiles and music lovers rejoice. The reading is good, the accents and voices get a bit odd when other readers take the lead and "do" the characters that they are speaking to, but overall, a very nice alternative to songs on my ipod for a week of commuting. Now back to Radiohead......
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
I do not come with the bias of already knowing and loving Hornby. This is my first of his books and perhaps the last. While the book was somewhat easy to listen to, and downright funny at times, the characters were dull, boring, and easily forgotten.
There was not much of a plot and too much dialogue for my taste. Perhaps if the characters were more developed and one could grow fond of them in any way, this book would deserve a higher rating. If you haven't read Hornby, try one of his more popular books--I wish I did.
Wow. Every part of this production was superbly done. The narrators were amazing. They really drew you into the story. It was like a play. I was completely enveloped in the story. Usually I do all sorts of things when I listen to audiobooks, but I really couldn't bring myself to do much else, I was so taken away by the story. It was just wonderful. It was like being a kid again.
Very much in Hornby's style: filled with the misadventures of awkward characters and their bumbling attempts and finding meaning in life which, inexplicably, make the reader feel good, normal. Great story, lighthearted reading with some powerful and interesting ideas to dwell on after. (ie.e Does a work of art have a life of it's own? Is an artist beholden to his/her work? Do fans distort art even as they venerate it?) As each chapter shifts to a new character's point of view, there is a new narrator for that character, which makes for a dynamic and interesting listen. Great listen.
My first Hornby was a mislabeled abridged version of High Fidelity and the abridgment made it abominable. This one is read in three voices, two male and one female, and the vocalizations are excellent.
The only thing that detracted was the mispronunciation of the word 'urinal,' which the female narrator pronounced you-righn-all (with a long 'i' in the middle).
The book is a solid read and I find the character interactions to be very well done, and indeed, the introspection that is related throughout moves the arc of the story along quite well.
I'm slightly puzzled, because this book is listed as narrated by Bill Irwin, but there are in fact three narrators. There's another version of this book listed, but I definitely have this one (I clicked through from My Library).
In any case, it's a very readable, pacey book with many of the usual Hornby themes--the banality of relationships, fame and its temptations, music fandom and so forth.
The production is very enjoyable, save for one issue. The way the audio work has been directed requires that each of the narrators do both American and British accents. One of the male American narrators really struggles with the British accent, and to me at least, it's a distraction. I'm no expert on accents, but I've lived in the British Isles and North America, so I'm at least familiar with both.
In any case, it's a relatively minor issue, and perhaps just a personal foible.
It is rare that a book gets me to laugh (and I don't mean smile) out loud. This one did it on more than one occasion. It's a fast story, and one I couldn't wait to pick up again. I'm off to find another Nick Hornby book!
Where do I begin. Great book about music and the strange personalities that are found fandoms across the globe. As usual, characters are gripping and multi-dimensional, without being aloof or, well, fictitious. You feel as if you know everyone in the story.
Didn't feel as if the plot itself was much to speak about. Basically a story about a bunch of people who eventually meet. Nothing really "happens" aside from their emotions and reactions. A character-driven story, in that case, as many of Hornby's are.
Recommended for fans of Anglo-American relations and singer-songwriters.
Shades of Grey
I very much enjoyed this novel by Nick Hornsby. The characters were flawed, human enough to be believable and engaging. The plot was somewhat far fetched but different and interesting, the writing was funny and the narration excellent. Even though the story missed a few beats and had a rather anti-climactic ending, I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for an entertaining, light read.
Hornby's wit and realistic, engaging take on relationships and on aging are as appealing as ever. But the outstanding acting ability/quality of the narration took this to another level: highly recommended!
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