Friday, 28 June 2019

Me Fully-Clothed In London and Juliet, Naked

On my last full day in London a couple months ago, I was walking distractedly around London Designer Outlet, close to Wembley Stadium, when I decided the best thing to do was walk into a bookshop. My shopping already done and only a hand luggage for carrying it back, it made more sense to browse one of my favourite kinds of store than look listlessly around killing time.

I got lucky when I stumbled across a highly-reduced price new copy of Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby, which I had been meaning to buy! I got it at a bonus price, it gave me something to do as I waited for my trip companion to join me again for the evening and it was not too thick to push into my overcrowded luggage when I packed it up that night.

The book was on my list of ‘To Reads’ because it is by Hornby and Hornby is, in my opinion, one of the world’s best at writing out characters that are true to life. He has a way of examining situations and making observations that are hilarious, truthful and usually little acknowledged, all at once. As a result, all his books are gems to read and re-read, giving insight into life as we know it, but taking into consideration those things we take for granted as a rule or else try to hide about ourselves.

Nick Hornby conspires to write incredibly, almost ridiculously accurate accounts of characters we could easily assimilate to, as they blunder through life causing themselves problems and then trying to fix them.

Juliet, Naked turned out to be up there with About a Boy in my Hall of Fame. It follows protagonist Annie, who has spent fifteen irretrievable years in a mediocre relationship that centred mainly around the fact that she and Duncan seemed to be the only possible ‘match’ in the sleepy happening-less seaside of Gooleness. In between illicit trips to a questionable therapist and recklessly angering her boyfriend by toying with the only obsession he’s got, she finds herself single. And relieved. It is ironic therefore, that the object of conflict himself - Duncan’s idol Tucker Crowe - emails Annie a reply to her well-written if low-rating review of his latest release.

Hornby flits the story between the Annie/Duncan North England scenario and recluse Tucker Crowe’s equally uninspired life in America. Till one day, Tucker and his son make a trip to England, and life must become marginally more interesting…

The book Juliet, Naked can currently be bought through this Amazon link at an amazingly low price!

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