**spoiler alert** Nick Hornby has finally returned to form! High Fidelity and About a Boy are still the epitomes of his brilliance, but I am very plea**spoiler alert** Nick Hornby has finally returned to form! High Fidelity and About a Boy are still the epitomes of his brilliance, but I am very pleased to have read and enjoyed Juliet, Naked, esp. after being thoroughly unimpressed by his more mediocre efforts, namely, How to Be Good and A Long Way Down.
This book can be regarded as the third installment of the trilogy I would glibly call “Chronicles of A Man Child” (the first two being High Fidelity and About a Boy), even though they feature different males in these three books, and Juliet has not one, but three protagonists, one of them a woman.
The ending is realistic, tentatively optimistic without being sappy, with a tinge of sadness. Do people really change? Will they make the effort to change? The reality is that sometimes they don’t. Most of us just carry on, in the only trajectory we know how. Once in a while, some of us take a brave step for a different track, and that is something to be celebrated.
Juliet, Naked is Hornby’s musing on life, love, relationship, parenting, art, and fans on the Internet, but mostly, about change, regret, and the predicament of ordinary people’s lives. Hornby’s the trademark bleak humor, smart metaphors, and incisive characterization are all there. The book is just as quotable as the other. Hornby’s established his own genre: engaging stories that humorously examine relationships and the human (mostly, men’s) psyche. He is perceptive, but compassionate. His characters are (sometimes deeply) flawed, but always real and likeable.
P.S. I highly recommend the audio version of this book! Unlike the monotonous “verbaling” that plagues many audiobooks, Juliet‘s audiobook is “acted” by three people. Their reading is animated, infectious, and true to the characters (great British accent and dead on with character mannerism and personality). I feel as if I were listening to a play.
P.P.S. If this is to be made into a movie, I think Simon Pegg will be great as Duncan, while Catherine Tate will make an excellent Annie. I can’t, however, immediately identify an actor for Tucker. Hmmm…...more
This book has so much potential, but fails to deliver. It's imaginative, intriguing (at least at the beginning), and "visually" stunning (that is, ifThis book has so much potential, but fails to deliver. It's imaginative, intriguing (at least at the beginning), and "visually" stunning (that is, if it were made into a movie, I'd definitely enjoy the movie a lot more than the book). The language creates lush and exquisite imagery, painting a vivid picture that is captivating at first, but then becomes tiresome, because it seems nothing happens. There is a curious lack of plot development, despite the (unnecessarily) complicated timelines. It's very disappointing because magic and circus are two concepts rich with possibilities.
It is also not really a tragic romance, either, no matter how the blurb spins it. The "magicians Romeo and Juliet" didn't even meet until 2/3 of the book. In addition, they are both so incredibly boring that I don't care about either of them, or find their instant undying love remotely convincing.
In short, this book is like an extravagant cake, intricately decorated with lavish frosting, pleasing to the eye. However, after the first two bites, you just have to push it away because beyond that overwhelming sweetness and beauty, there is nothing more.
Another over-hyped book I've read this year (and there are a lot of them). ...more
I read this before the original. Loved them both. The movie based on this book is total crap, but the book is worth your time - the best antidepressanI read this before the original. Loved them both. The movie based on this book is total crap, but the book is worth your time - the best antidepressant!...more