Thursday, October 14, 2010

Juliet, Naked - a review for those who haven't read the book

"Juliet, Naked" is Nick Hornby's much awaited latest novel. On the surface, its premise seems a little bland and confusing: a middle-aged protagonist is obsessed by an obscure reclusive musician, but it is the protagonist's girlfriend who starts an email relationship with the recluse.

Certainly not the type of book I would pick up if it weren't for the author, whose "High Fidelity" put him firmly on my top 5 contemporary English-language novelist list.

I finished the book five days ago and am still under its spell. Its actual premise, the one not mentioned in the book, is too enormous for me to encapsulate here, but its aspects include:
  • what is art?
  • when is art a lie?
  • who is an artist without his inspiration?
  • what makes a fan turn obsessive?
  • how does the Internet fuel fandom?
  • what do minor celebrities feel when they read about themselves?
  • is it better to be happy or creatively brilliant?
  • are the two concepts mutually exclusive?
I realise Nick Hornby himself identified the themes in the novel as parenting, middle age and romantic relationships. To me, they are incidental. All I see is a beautiful book about creativity and obsession, and it doesn't take a genius to see the parallels between the fictional musician and the writer who created him.

This is Stephen King's "Misery" gone literary and without the horror bits.

2 comments:

TheUndertaker said...

Hello you, never found your blog before. I like the sound of the book and the fact that it won't leave you alone for days after AND that it raises questions.
I'm reading EatLovePray and it is doing the same for me.

Yvonne Eve Walus said...

Hey S, good to see you here. I must check out EatLovePray, I'm running out of books to read.

Are you writing much these days? Perhaps it's time to reinstate our meetings? Which reminds me... wait, I'll email you.