A Long Way Down [Three Things Thursday]

Three Things ThursdayA Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
Rating: 4/5
Date Read: June 2008

A Long Way Down1. The four narrators in A Long Way Down meet on a rooftop on New Year’s Eve where each has independently planned to commit suicide. They (obviously) don’t go through with it and end up forming some strange kind of support group.

2. The book started out depressing but was actually full of hope. I like hope. Also, it contained serious issues while still being funny. That takes skill.

3. This was my first time reading Hornby’s fiction (I had previously read The Polysyllabic Spree) so I didn’t have many expectations. I was impressed and have since read Juliet, Naked.

Three Things Thursday is a new weekly feature where I review books I read prior to blogging by telling you just three things about them.

Juliet, Naked – Book Review

Title: Juliet, Naked
Author: Nick Hornby
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
ISBN: 0143144901
Pages: 416 (8.9 hours)
Year: 2009
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Source: Dunedin Public Library
Rating: 4/5

Plot summary (from The Book Depository):

Annie loves Duncan-or thinks she does. Duncan loves Annie, but then, all of a sudden, he doesn’t. Duncan really loves Tucker Crowe, a reclusive Dylanish singer-songwriter who stopped making music ten years ago. Annie stops loving Duncan, and starts getting her own life. In doing so, she initiates an e-mail correspondence with Tucker, and a connection is forged between two lonely people who are looking for more out of what they’ve got. Tucker’s been languishing (and he’s unnervingly aware of it), living in rural Pennsylvania with what he sees as his one hope for redemption amid a life of emotional and artistic ruin-his young son, Jackson. But then there’s also the new material he’s about to release to the world: an acoustic, stripped-down version of his greatest album, “Juliet”-entitled, “Juliet, Naked.” What happens when a washed-up musician looks for another chance? And miles away, a restless, childless woman looks for a change? “Juliet, Naked” is a powerfully engrossing, humblingly humorous novel about music, love, loneliness, and the struggle to live up to one’s promise.

Other Books I’ve Read By Author: A Long Way Down; The Polysyllabic Spree

Why I Picked Up This Book: I was browsing the audio books at the library and remembered that I wanted to read this one.

My thoughts:

When I first started this book, I thought it was simply going to be a funny book about a man who is obsessed with a washed-up singer. But this book turned into so much more. Duncan really fell into the background of the story pretty quickly and it became more about his girlfriend Annie and the washed-up singer, Tucker Crowe.

Annie has been in her relationship with Duncan for far too long and is incredibly saddened by the realization that she is never going to have children. Tucker has had too many wives and has too many children – he really only knows his youngest, Jackson. Yet both Annie and Tucker are searching for something. This book is about their journey to find it.

Hornby did a wonderful job writing the character and eliciting empathy for them from the reader.  The audio version was interesting because each of the three main characters – Duncan, Annie, and Tucker – were narrated by different people.  I think this took me into the story more than one consistent narrator would have.

I’m not finding the words I want to accurately describe how this book made me feel, but I really enjoyed it. I haven’t read much Nick Hornby, but I know that music is one of the things people say he writes about best.  After finishing this, I would like to go back and read some of his older books.

Will I Read This Author Again?: Yes

Other Reviews:

  • S. Krishna’s Books
  • (I couldn’t find any others in Google Reader. But I’m sure they must be there. If I missed yours let me know.)

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