Annie and Duncan are a mid-thirties couple who have reached a fork in the road, realising their shared interest in the reclusive musician Tucker Crowe (in Duncan’s case, an obsession rather than an interest) is not enough to hold them together any more. When Annie hates Tucker’s ‘new release’, a terrible demo of his most famous album, it’s the last straw - Duncan cheats on her and she promptly throws him out. Via an internet discussion forum, Annie’s harsh opinion reaches Tucker himself, who couldn’t agree more. He and Annie start an unlikely correspondence which teaches them both something about moving on from years of wasted time. Nick Hornby’s compelling new novel, four years after A Long Way Down , is about the nature of creativity and obsession, and how two lonely people can gradually find each other.
by Julia Jackson, Readings Carlton
No, this book has nothing to do with Shakespeare. Rather, the focus is Annie and Duncan and the third wheel in their relationship: Tucker Crowe, a faded music icon of the 1980s who is Duncan’s obsession.
Duncan is wholly consumed by anything Tucker-related – to the detriment of his relationship with Annie, a curator at the local museum in their sleepy English seaside town. A new CD entitled Juliet, Naked by Tucker Crowe (mostly studio demos and unplugged songs) finds its way into Duncan’s possession and is a catalyst for the demise of their relationship. Feeling as if she’s missed out on quite a bit of her adult life, Annie is forced to re-evaluate her situation. Her review of the CD, posted online on Duncan’s own fan-site dedicated to Tucker, puts her in contact with the man himself, who’s also found himself at a crossroads.
This is a quirky story about relationships, lost time, fan culture and surprises that come from hero worship, with the telling point that the reality of ‘big’ stars and idols is that they are only as big as the fantasy.
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