Noble Failures

Sometimes mediocre books happen even to good writers like Nick Hornby and Lorrie Moore

Let us now speak ill of two very good writers: Nick Hornby and Lorrie Moore. Hornby's new book, Juliet, Naked (Riverhead; 416 pages), is an example of what you might call iPod lit--Arthur Phillips' The Song Is You would be another--novels that meditate on the paradoxical mixture of intimacy and estrangement that arises from listening to digitally recorded music, or really from any human interaction mediated by the Internet. In the case of Juliet, Naked, the music is by Tucker Crowe, a legendary (fictional) singer-songwriter who was last heard from in 1986 but who still has rabid online followers who endlessly...

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