Utterly groovy . . . wonderful . . . A beautifully rendered four-part harmony
A great book! I was completely engrossed for two days.
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
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.
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.
Superb . . . enormous fun . . . a celebratory page-turner
[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.
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 . . . he superbly conveys the energy and spirit of the age . . . a supremely readable novel, if the quality of readability is taken to be one which is difficult to achieve and a relief to encounter
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
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.
A 1960s music epic
A lively, colourful, emotional roller-coaster of a read that lingers long after you turn the final page
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
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
Superb . . . Mitchell can modulate from tricksy (this is a typically metafictional, intertextual affair) to intimate (the characters are deeply engaging) to pure-pleasure literary kicks (the stylish voice, slick dialogue and compulsive plot)
Fast-moving and compelling
Mitchell is pitch-perfect on the past . . . He manages to write about goodness without any mawkishness. This is not an easy task, and to link it to redemption is even more challenging, but it works
Mitchell, whose novels range through different modes and genres with extraordinary facility, has a lucid, kinetic style at all times, but he is never more impressive than when writing in close third person about characters in altered mental states - captivity, physical pain, madness . . . A conventional story of a band's rise turns into a book on another plane entirely
One of his most satisfying works. The dialogue really sings
One of the many delights of Utopia Avenue is seeing the cosmic dust of genius swirling in chaos before the stars are formed . . . If you can't hear the music reverberating off these pages, you're not listening
A consistently absorbing book, which skilfully conveys the excitement and mayhem of the era, and the hopes and dreams of those swept up in it
His narrative has the addictive quality of the best music journalism, mixed with superb period detail and fine storytelling. An escape in time and space. A trip. A blast
The band members leap off the page, the musical references will appeal to anyone who grew up in that decade (or those who just love its music) and the writing is, as ever, stunning
The great rock and roll novel - an epic love letter to the greatest music ever made and the book the music has always deserved
[Mitchell]'s work has been compared to that of Haruki Murakami, Thomas Pynchon and Anthony Burgess. But he occupies a field of his own. His eight novels are experimental but approachable. His sentences can be lyrical, but his prose is propulsive. Beneath the layers of references and unconventional structures lie lucid narratives. Mitchell's obsessions - beyond the fictional meta-universe he has created - are with human voyages of self-actualization; the process of figuring out who we are, and how we connect, in the brief time we have
It's Daisy Jones & the Six on acid