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  • Personal Heroes

    2.5 Stars This was my first Nick Hornby novel and it will probably be my only Nick Hornby novel. I haven't seen the film of Juliet, Naked but the premise intrigued me - a mixture of musician-worship and what happens when you meet those you worship juggled with getting older and feeling dead-ended by life. I think we all have a tendency to almost fetishise the music of our youth but sometimes that can go too far and for Duncan it has gone way too far. My issues really started with Annie making contact with the elusive Tucker Crowe. I just found it all too unrealistic and the burgeoning of that relationship felt somehow seedy and had more than a faint whiff of being very disturbing. I cannot pinpoint exactly why it made me feel this way but it did and I sort of galloped through the last third of the book, not because I wanted to find out what happened but, rather more prosaically, because I wanted it all to be over. The only things that salvaged this for me where the early chapters dealing with Duncan's obsession with not only Tucker Crowe's music but in the almost mythical being he had become. His pilgrimage, with Annie in tow, was rather touching in a lot of ways. His then reaction to the new release of previously unheard recordings was wonderfully wrought - particularly his misgivings in the aftermath of publishing his review to the devoted fan base online. I also found the sections from Tucker's perspective to be actually well handled, at least in the earlier portions of the tale, with his rather acerbic and phlegmatic voice being distinct from the other characters. For me Annie was just there and I couldn't work up any strength of feeling for the character at all. I did want to see the Shark's Eye though - sounds like the best bit of the exhibition to me. Overall a well written book - I could appreciate the craft of the writer if not his tale - but not one for me and one that has made me rethink trying any of Mr Hornby's back or future catalogue.

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