Nick Hornby is the author of six bestselling novels (High Fidelity, About a Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down, Juliet, Naked and Funny Girl), as well as a novel for young adults, Slam, and four works of acclaimed non-fiction: Fever Pitch, 31 Songs, The Complete Polysyllabic Spree and Stuff I've Been Reading. He has written the screenplays for the films Fever Pitch, Wild, Brooklyn and An Education, which was nominated for an Oscar. He lives in Highbury, north London.
Hornby returns to his roots--music, manic fandom, messy romance--in his funny and touching latest, dancing between three perspectives on fame: a sycophantic scholar, an appreciative audience member, a fabled singer-songwriter who can't see what all the fuss is about. After cult musician Tucker Crowe vanished from the public eye 20 years ago, his small but devoted fan base built up a mythology around his oeuvre and the people and places associated with his storied life. Self-appointed "Crowologist" Duncan has indoctrinated his girlfriend, Annie, on the wonders of Tucker, but when Annie fails to recognize the genius of a newly released version of Crowe's classic album Juliet, their 15-year relationship quickly crumbles. Meanwhile, Duncan's glowing first review is increasingly debated, while Annie's deconstructive essay posted on the same Web site earns her a clandestine e-mail correspondence with the reclusive musician. Soon, their exchanges grow more personal; given that Tucker lives in an American backwater and Annie resides in a remote English town, both view their e-mails as a safe flirtation until the dissolution of Tucker's latest marriage and a crisis with one of his several neglected children brings him to Annie's side of the Atlantic. Through brisk dialogue and quick scene changes, Hornby highlights each character's misconceptions about his or her own life, and though Duncan, Annie and Tucker are consistently ridiculous and often self-destructive, they are portrayed with an extraordinary degree of sympathy. Tucker's status of Dylan by way of Salinger allows for an intriguing critique of celebrity fetishization and of the motives behind the eccentricity that comes along with fame. Obviously, this is a must-read for Hornby's fans, but it also works as a surprisingly thoughtful complement to the piles of musician bios and memoirs. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Fans of Hornby's light but filling High Fidelity will be excited to learn of his return to a pop culture-infused story about mucked-up modern romance. Nearing middle age in a dingy English seaside town, Annie pines for children but has no future with longtime boyfriend Duncan, who channels all his passion into a web site dedicated to an obscure American singer/songwriter named Tucker Crowe. Change comes, kerblam!, when Annie posts a brilliant pan of Juliet, Naked, a stripped-down version of Crowe's breakup masterpiece album. Duncan, bored and threatened, cheats on Annie; Crowe, now fiftysomething, living in obscurity in rural Pennsylvania, and depressed about messing up his upteenth relationship, begins an email flirtation with Annie. Fast-forward to London, where our transatlantic correspondents meet after Tucker is summoned there to attend to an estranged daughter after a miscarriage. Verdict Hornby narrowly avoids a schmultzfest but leaves readers with too many questions about what happened between Annie and Tucker. The author's deft humor is mostly absent in what boils down to a well-intentioned rejection of Cupid as panacea that seems to have overwhelmed its creator. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/09.]-Heather McCormack, Library Journal Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.