I have read almost all the books by Nick Hornby. I find him somewhat ingenious. He is able of taking some (almost) normal characters in ordinary settings and pull out some stories that you would not have thought in any way. His is a fantasy that moves outside the box. The situations he tells are unusual but plausible. His characters are alive in our minds. And they all make us laugh, sometimes to tears, for the things they do or say.
Again in “Juliet, Naked” Hornby brings out the best of himself. He tells the story of a forgotten rock star and of the companion of one of his few remaining fans (bordering on obsession). Two distant characters, not only geographically, that thanks to the internet come into contact.
The character of the former rocker Tucker is so well built, complete with a page of Wikipedia, that you almost have the doubt that a famous musician by that name really existed in the 80s. Despite the objective absurdity of the story, due to an excess of unusual events and characters, the suspension of disbelief is total.
Yet even this novel by Hornby, as almost all of them, seems to get lost in the end. After having exceeded without scruples throughout the book, he cannot dare in closing it. Unlike other novels in which he fell into a feel-good ending, where the characters return to normal, after the madness of the story, here the author indulges in an open ending. This in itself would not be bad at all. I love open endings, the problem with this though is that Hornby did not even try to give a true indication of the direction to which, probably, the situation will evolve. Except maybe once again a foregone conclusion, as what happened during the novel doesn’t matter at all. And this is again the question that comes up every time: isn’t it maybe the case that the author did not know how to finish this story?
Juliet, Naked on Amazon.com.