London author Nick Hornby has scored his sixth bestseller with his new novel Juliet Naked. The book revisits all the familiar Hornby themes of rock ’n’ roll, love and obsession.
Q. Where did the idea for Juliet Naked come from?
A. I read this interview of Sly Stone who hadn’t spoken publicly for a long time and the excitement of the journalist, who was very likely a fan, was so obvious and palpable that I wanted to do something with it. Then I was fascinated with the way the Internet deals with the relation between artist and fan. Juliet Naked is a mix of all those things.
Q. Does Juliet Naked hark back to High Fidelity?
A. The character of Tucker Crowe wasn’t meant to be a musician. He could have been a writer or a painter, but I think it’s more interesting for everybody, and especially for me to have him being a musician. The book is based on art and the meaning it can have upon different people.
Q. Has the music changed since High Fidelity?
A. Of course, everything has changed since High Fidelity. Today is the best period in history for music lovers. You can have millions of tunes in your computer, you can discover genius on the web, you can listen to stuff that has never been released on an LP, you can meet other fans that live in other parts of the world… what else can a fan ask for?
Q. Juliet Naked is the name of the long-awaited album, and also the title of the book. What made you decide to give both the same name?
A. I think the word “naked” next to a girl’s name always has some effect! And even more when it’s next to Juliet — it sounds so classical and romantic.
Q. In the couple Annie and Duncan, you portray a fairly bleak picture of love and what can happen to committed relationships.
A. What happens to them is the worst thing that can happen to a couple. They are not happy together, but they are not unhappy either. She wants a kid, he doesn’t. They got bored, but they didn’t realize it and after 15 years waiting for something that was never going to come, they realize it’s too late. But things do improve.