Utopia Avenue - Dreams, madness and the music of the 60s
01.08.2020 - written by Jon Page
The new David Mitchell is completely intoxicating. There is nothing quite like picking up the new novel by one of your favourite writers and getting lost in it straight away. This new novel is perfect for old fans and new fans alike nestling snuggly into the rich and layered David Mitchell universe but at the same time being truly self-contained and just a wonderful, immersive read.
One of my favourite books of 2019 was Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I loved the story of this 1970s band coming together, recording this amazing album, and then promptly falling apart. However, David Mitchell’s Utopia Avenue blows this novel away, and I don’t say that lightly because I loved that book.
Utopia Avenue is set in Soho in 1967. We follow the four members of the band: folksinger Elf Hollaway, bassist Dean Moss, drummer Griff Griffin and the lead guitarist Jasper De Zoet. We find out how each of the band members meets and comes together to form the band, Utopia Avenue. And then follow their steady rise through the London club scene as their career slowly starts to take off. Each character could lead a novel in their own right but together…well that's what makes bands better than solo artists right?
David Mitchell perfectly captures the era; the hopes and dreams, the madness and the magic and the tumultuous changes going on all around. There are cameos from all sorts of other musicians in and around the scene at the same time from David Bowie to Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to name but a few. There are also cameos by previous David Mitchell characters too but those you will have to watch out for yourself. Some are obvious while others are a little more obscure, and if you haven’t read all of David Mitchell's books you certainly will after this book. If Bone Clocks was the sequel to Cloud Atlas, Utopia Avenue is the sequel to A Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet.
I loved this book so much I did not want it to end, deliberately slowing my reading for the last 150 pages so I did not have to leave this universe once again. And when I did finish, I felt a sadness that I would not continue following these fantastic characters and their lives that David Mitchell has constructed. I honestly feel like grabbing all my David Mitchell books and doing an epic re-read just to stay in his universe for as long as possible. A wonderful novel by an utterly brilliant author, and easily the book of the month!