Juliet, Naked

Nick Hornby

A lot of us have a Tucker Crowe in our lives—an artist for whom we have an undying appreciation. And we’re just one of a handful in the world who understand this person and are willing to wage war with any detractors. In Juliet, Naked, Crowe is a late-’70s/early-’80s singer/songwriter who released just a few albums. His seminal work is Juliet, a “breakup album” that finally garners critical acclaim and makes Crowe’s followers even more obsessed. But Crowe thinks it’s a piece of crap, and during his tour, he mysteriously walks away from the music scene altogether. For 25 years, this recluse becomes the subject of Internet conspiracy theories that paint him in all sorts of unflattering lights. This is Nick Hornby’s (About a Boy, High Fidelity) best work in years. His acumen for popular and independent music helps move the storyline along at a very comfortable clip, and his clashing of Crowe’s staunchest supporter (Duncan) and his girlfriend (Annie) gives Juliet, Naked a very human feel. And this is Hornby’s main strength—playing out connections between men and women, especially when they’re dysfunctional messes.