Utopia Avenue (Paperback)David Mitchell (author)
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Written with Mitchell’s trademark lyrical flair and eye for the extraordinary, Utopia Avenue documents the rise and fall of the eponymous 1960s psych rock band, from destiny in Soho to nemesis in Rome.
Utopia Avenue are the strangest British band you've never heard of. Emerging from London's psychedelic scene in 1967 and fronted by folksinger Elf Holloway, guitar demigod Jasper de Zoet and blues bassist Dean Moss, Utopia Avenue released only two LPs during its brief and blazing journey from the clubs of Soho and draughty ballrooms to Top of the Pops and the cusp of chart success, to glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome and a fateful American fortnight in the autumn of 1968.
David Mitchell's new novel tells the unexpurgated story of Utopia Avenue; of riots in the streets and revolutions in the head; of drugs, thugs, madness, love, sex, death, art; of the families we choose and the ones we don't; of fame's Faustian pact and stardom's wobbly ladder. Can we change the world in turbulent times, or does the world change us? Utopia means 'nowhere' but could a shinier world be within grasp, if only we had a map?
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Number of pages: 576
Weight: 400 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 46 mm
'Superb ... enormous fun ... a celebratory page-turner.' - Ben Masters, The Literary Review
'[A] 1960s music epic' - Justine Jordan, The Guardian
'Charting the rise to stardom of a "psychedelic-folk-rock band" in the late 1960s, this gaudy, swirling concept album of a novel resurrects a flamboyant era with vibrant flair and high-fidelity detail. Amid a whirligig of funny, elating and affecting scenes, the origins, challenges and rewards of creativity are keenly surveyed. David Mitchell's stylish prose makes every page gleam.' - Peter Kemp, The Times
'Mitchell is expert at excavating the seams of loss, ambition and mere chance that lie under the edifice of fame ... The reader is impelled from the first by a kind of rushing, gleeful energy ... a supremely readable novel, if the quality of readability is taken to be one which is difficult to achieve and a relief to encounter.' - Sarah Perry, The Guardian
'A book bristling with pleasures ... An overwhelmingly vivid - and equally exhilarating - portrait of an era when the future seemed likely to be shaped by a combination of young people and music. At the same time, there's a melancholy sense of the transience of this idealism ... Utopia Avenue confirms that his real talent - perhaps even genius - lies in finding wildly entertaining new ways to tell old truths.' - James Walton, Spectator
'[Mitchell] tells a linear tale and eschews literary pirouetting to create a set of characters and recreate a period with ... [such] superb believability ... Gig upon gig conjures that danger and euphoria of the live experience of amplified sound ... Mitchell rescues this brief slice of the past, made so poignant because its brilliance was so ephemeral, and brings it into the shimmering present. The result is that Utopia Avenue does what music does: it joins up time.' - Serena Davies, The Daily Telegraph
'An ambitious, rambunctious, hugely enjoyable tale ... [it] is filled with sparkling dialogue and has stimulating things to say about creativity, mental health, the effects of domestic violence, the Vietnam War, grief, parental responsibility and what it was perhaps like to be an independent-minded female musician back in the day. Above all, Mitchell pulls off this bold attempt at a novel exploring the undefinable mysteries of music and why music has such an impact on people.' - Martin Chilton, Independent
'With his huge electric brain, Mitchell has written his own solo scenius, one that draws connections between Edo-era Japan and a distant, post-human-collapse future. It's a grand project, brilliantly executed and deeply humanist. Utopia Avenue is the most fun stop along the way and aptly named.' - The Los Angeles Times
'A great book! I was completely engrossed for two days.' - Brian Eno
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