An electrifying novel about the meteoric rise of an iconic interracial rock duo in the 1970s, their sensational breakup, and the dark secrets unearthed when they try to reunite decades later for one last tour.A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2021 BY BARACK OBAMA * THE WASHINGTON POST * NPR * ESQUIRE * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * GOODREADS * THE MILLIONS * READER'S DIGEST * PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER * EERIE READER * PUBLIC RADIO TULSA * CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY * KIRKUS REVIEWS "Feels truer and more mesmerizing than some true stories. It's a packed time capsule that doubles as a stick of dynamite." --THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can't imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job--despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar's amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. In early seventies New York City, just as she's finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal's bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth. Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo's most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything. Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we've not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.
- ISBN-13: 9781982140168
- ISBN-10: 198214016X
- Publisher: 37 Ink
- Publish Date: March 2021
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
- Page Count: 368
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
You may think you know a thing or two about the music industry, but from the opening pages of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, it’s clear that debut novelist Dawnie Walton knows a thing or two more.
Walton spins the story of Opal Jewel, a young Black woman from Detroit who has rock ’n’ roll aspirations. Opal meets British singer-songwriter Nev Charles at an open-mike night, and after deciding to make music together, they start to ascend the rungs to rock stardom. But when a concert tragically ends in racial violence, they disappear from the spotlight.
Years later, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton, who’s spent her life unwillingly linked to Opal and Nev’s story, decides to curate an oral history about them in time for a hopeful reunion. When Sunny’s interviews unveil the truth behind the group’s troubled past, it seems like this story of a band lost to time may end in disaster.
While the novel’s interwoven voices and oral history format will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six, a more apt comparison would be to Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad, as its perspective makes it both timely and prescient. Through viewpoints that leap from Opal, Nev and Sunny to Opal’s family members, readers begin to understand the band’s glamorous, tragic story from every angle.
Music is at the heart of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, and Walton makes us love these musicians in the same way that we love our favorite bands. She uses this love to dig deeper, grappling with racism and other sinister themes to reveal the true essence of rock ’n’ roll. It’s not just about sex and drugs and parties; it’s a way to express the complexity and sadness of our everyday lives. Using music to cope is glorious and human, and Walton doesn’t just cope—she triumphs.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Debut novelist Dawnie Walton discusses the legacy of Black women in rock and the strange ways that music moves us—just a few of her pieces of inspiration for The Final Revival of Opal & Nev.