I read the stories of the others to forget my story. But this book has me rather to plunge into my own story. How many times in my life, these last years, I thought of what thinks very often Annie in this book.
'Juliet, Naked' by Nick Hornby
September 27, 2009|Carolyn Kellogg, Kellogg is the lead blogger for Jacket Copy, The Times' book blog.
Tucker Crowe, the reclusive singer-songwriter of "Juliet, Naked," inspires a cadre of obsessive fans who parse his every lyric and musical move. He's like Bob Dylan, but not as genius, nor as prolific -- he dropped out of music decades ago, after a devastatingly brilliant heartbreak album. Which would make him more like Richard Thompson. Or maybe . . . .
This is just the kind of music trivia discussion you might expect in a Nick Hornby novel. But while there was a kind of giddy heroism to it in "High Fidelity," it now comes across as a slightly pathetic preoccupation.
That's because here it's seen through the eyes of Annie, thirtysomething and living in Gooleness, an uncool town on the north English coast. Duncan, her longtime partner and a college professor, is a Tucker Crowe fanatic, the leader of an international message board dedicated to the musician. That's just one of the things that's beginning to grate on Annie, who's starting to grow restless inside the safe choices she's made.
"We're here for such a short amount of time," Annie thinks while working at her job at a local museum. ". . . She would waste the next two hours, because she had to, and then she would never waste another second of however much time she had left to her. Unless somehow she ended up . . . doing this job for the rest of her working life, or watching 'EastEnders' on a wet Sunday, or reading anything that wasn't 'King Lear,' or painting her toenails, or taking more than a minute to choose something from a restaurant menu, or . . . . It was hopeless, life, really. It was set up all wrong."
Annie's midlife crisis runs parallel to Tucker Crowe's later one. Despite being notoriously reclusive, he's living relatively openly in small-town Pennsylvania. Tucker, like Annie, worries about lost time -- lost, in his case, to the wilds of bad behavior and its aftermath of self-pity. But he's been clean and together long enough to be a good father to the charming 6-year-old Jackson. If he's only an adequate husband to his youngish wife, he's doing better than his previous marital attempts -- there were many, often with children, rarely ending well.
Tucker has no interest in getting back in the spotlight, but he tends to go with the flow. When a buddy suggests releasing the acoustic demo tapes for his iconic album "Juliet" as "Juliet, Naked" he figures it can't hurt, and it might contribute a few bucks to the household.
"This Rock star, removed from the world, for several years, hate his obsessional fans who invent about him any sorts of anecdotes (false). And these rumours which propagate on internet. The only one Annie who sees the Rock star differently is going to catch his attention.
I hate the Star system. I hate it because in every stars, I see only humans being. And when one of these human beings touches you and when the desire to share a part of your life with him obsesses you, you begin hating this inhuman world.
This person you consider him as a simple human being with whom you want to share moments of your life because you feel that it has to happen.
Then you hate newsstands, which you avoid, for fear of seeing the photo of this person that you love, vulgarly look to the public onto a cover of magazine.
This person is so important for you and is an attractive object for the public. You begin hating this public who reads these magazines. You just want to take all these magazines to burn them, so that the image of this person does not appear any more so.
And these difficulties of exchange, which you understand, but which obsess you and which stop you from living. And this sentence which occupy your spirit every day: " I should never have met his glance in 2007! I would never have had to know him "."