Utopia Avenue|David Mitchell
Utopia Avenue
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The long-awaited new novel from the bestselling, prize-winning author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks.

Utopia Avenue is the strangest British band you've never heard of. Emerging from London's psychedelic scene in 1967, and fronted by folk singer Elf Holloway, blues bassist Dean Moss and guitar virtuoso Jasper de Zoet, Utopia Avenue embarked on a meteoric journey from the seedy clubs of Soho, a TV debut on Top of the Pops, the cusp of chart success, glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome, and a fateful American sojourn in the Chelsea Hotel, Laurel Canyon, and San Francisco during the autumn of '68.

David Mitchell's kaleidoscopic novel tells the unexpurgated story of Utopia Avenue's turbulent life and times; of fame's Faustian pact and stardom's wobbly ladder; of the families we choose and the ones we don't; of voices in the head, and the truths and lies they whisper; of music, madness, and idealism. Can we really change the world, or does the world change us?

  • ISBN-13: 9780812997439
  • ISBN-10: 0812997433
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: July 2020
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Page Count: 592

Utopia Avenue

David Mitchell has written some of the most innovative novels of the past 20 years, from the post-apocalyptic Cloud Atlas to Slade House, a ghost tale about a mysterious residence “that only blinks into existence one night every nine years.” His latest, Utopia Avenue, is a journey into new territory and a return to earlier themes. One of the biggest surprises here is that an author who has built a reputation for creating original worlds now seeks originality in a seemingly familiar milieu: a British rock band’s brief moment of fame in the psychedelic heyday of the late 1960s.

It’s 1967, and impresario Levon Frankland, on the lookout for fresh talent, spots bass guitarist Dean Moss, a 23-year-old “long-haired lout” who’s desperate for a gig and a place to live. Soon, Dean joins a band that includes drummer Peter “Griff” Griffin, no stranger to having bottles thrown at him during a set, and lead singer Elf Holloway, formerly half of a folk duo with her Australian ex-boyfriend, a man who isn’t above using thievery and unfaithfulness to achieve his goals.

So far, so familiar, but this being a Mitchell novel, a wrinkle is not too far off. This novel’s wrinkle involves lead guitarist Jasper de Zoet, a man who, ever since an afternoon on the cricket pitch during his youth in the Netherlands, has heard a persistent knocking in his head. The knocking has now returned, as has the message tapped out by this foreign entity inside his brain: “Life and liberty . . . De Zoet must die.”

Utopia Avenue is more ramshackle than Mitchell’s earlier works. Some plot elements, including episodes of revenge, jealousy and blackmail, are exactly what one might expect to find in a story of newly celebrated musicians. Mitchell fans, however, will welcome the continuation of flourishes from such earlier works as The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and The Bone Clocks, including the reemergence of characters from those novels and the neologisms that made Mitchell’s previous works such mind-bending experiences. Mitchell’s song may be different, but readers will recognize the tune.