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Utopia Avenue

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781444799422

Price: £20

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‘A stand-out triumph’ – Sunday Times

The spectacular new novel from the bestselling author of CLOUD ATLAS and THE BONE CLOCKS, ‘one of the most brilliantly inventive writers of this, or any country’ (Independent).

Utopia Avenue might be the most curious British band you’ve never heard of.

Emerging from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967, folksinger Elf Holloway, blues bassist Dean Moss, guitar virtuoso Jasper de Zoet and jazz drummer Griff Griffin together created a unique sound, with lyrics that captured their turbulent times. The band produced only two albums in two years, yet their musical legacy lives on.

This is the story of Utopia Avenue’s brief, blazing journey from Soho clubs and draughty ballrooms to the promised land of America, just when the Summer of Love was receding into something much darker – a multi-faceted tale of dreams, drugs, love, sexuality, madness and grief; of stardom’s wobbly ladder and fame’s Faustian pact; and of the collision between youthful idealism and jaded reality as the Sixties drew to a close.

Above all, this bewitching novel celebrates the power of music to connect across divides, define an era and thrill the soul.

‘The great rock and roll novel – an epic love letter to the greatest music ever made and the book the music has always deserved’ Tony Parsons

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Utterly groovy . . . wonderful . . . A beautifully rendered four-part harmony
Jake Arnott, author of <i>The Long Firm</i>
A great book! I was completely engrossed for two days.
Brian Eno
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.
Los Angeles Times
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
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
Superb . . . enormous fun . . . a celebratory page-turner.
Ben Masters, Literary Review
[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, Daily Telegraph
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, Guardian
What makes it a stand-out triumph is the vibrant flair with which it recreates an era, the acuteness with which it explores composition and performance, and its often witty verbal finesse.
Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
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, <i>The Times</i> Books of the Year
[A] 1960s music epic
Justine Jordan, <i> Guardian</i> Books of the Year
This lively, colourful read charts the rise of an unlikely bunch of musicians as they head from small-town venues to the glitter and gleam of fame in LA. As Elf, Dean, Griff and guitar genius Jasper de Zoet hit the big time, Utopia Avenue takes you on a wild ride through the tail end of the psychedelic 60s'
Sunday Express, Books of the Year