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 . . . 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
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'