Annie and Duncan are stuck. They’ve spent the last 15 years in a predictable non-committal “marriage” in a nowhere town near the English seacoast. Their relationship lacks passion and purpose. Annie’s also beginning to notice the ticking of her biological clock. A trip to the U.S. to indulge Duncan’s internet-based obsession with a vanished and long-forgotten rock star (Tucker Crowe) takes them on a pilgrimage of sorts, crisscrossing the states and concluding on the west coast.
Annie makes her first move toward independence by remaining in San Francisco to do a bit of sightseeing while Duncan takes the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train to a residential neighborhood in Berkeley where, over twenty years earlier, the rocker Crowe threw rocks at his married lover’s window. As Annie and Duncan make uncharacteristic choices, the plot rapidly takes off.
You’ll need to read the book to find out how Nick Hornby gently coaxes his ever-increasing cast of characters to reflect on their lives and relationships. He weaves a charming plot into a quite satisfying read. This is a tale not to be missed if you’re ever been fascinated by someone or something to near distraction, or if you happen to use the internet.
Riverhead, $25.95, 406 pages
Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.