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Utopia Avenue

by David Mitchell

Series: Horologists (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1227217,589 (4.04)124
"Soho, London, 1967. Folk-rock-psychedelic quartet Utopia Avenue is formed. Guitarist Jasper de Zoet, a shy, half-Dutch public-school musical prodigy, was hearing voices long before he dropped acid. Keyboardist Elf Holloway must defy the prejudices of her bank manager father, her housewife mother, and her age to forge her own career. Bassist Dean Moss cannot, will not, spend his life on the factory floor like everyone else in Gravesend. Band manager Levon Frankland--gay, Jewish, and Canadian--is not unduly burdened by conscience. The drummer is a drummer. Over two years and two albums, Utopia Avenue navigates the dark end of the Sixties: its parties, drugs and egos, political change and personal tragedy; and the trials of life as a working band in London, the provinces, European capitals and, finally, the promised land of America. What is art? What is fame? What is music? How can the whole be more than the sum of its parts? Can idealism change the world? How does your youth shape your life? This is the story of Utopia Avenue. Not everyone lives to the end"--… (more)
  1. 10
    Almost Famous [2000 film] by Cameron Crowe (paradoxosalpha)
  2. 00
    Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Both books are about fictional rock bands in the 1960s.
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» See also 124 mentions

English (75)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
My first book by Mitchell. Fun and engaging. Mitchell’s style reminded me of Pynchon in its playfulness. The subject matter is catnip for me so it will be interesting to see how much I take to Mitchell’s previous novels. Cloud Atlas seems like a good next choice. ( )
  monicaberger | Jan 22, 2024 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This a book I really wanted to like, but a quarter of the way through, after forcing myself to read it, I gave up. Between unlikable characters, a boring plot, and dull writing, it wasn't worth my time. Of course, there is always a chance that it improves, but life is too short to read dull books.
  TheDivineOomba | Jan 20, 2024 |
summing up a decade like the 1960s, in music and societal change, is a pretty ambitious project. and dropping into that a conclusion to a long and timeslippy book series like David Mitchell's Horologists, which began life set around the much earlier Dutch East India Company, is a dicey proposition, pulled off mostly by backgrounding that ending so the mainframe 1960s stuff doesn't get ploughed under along the way. the story centers around a fictional band called Utopia Avenue, and it works largely by making the band members live so vividly that as a reader you want them all so badly to survive and grow. it's beautifully written, like all of David Mitchell's work, and it's a work worth cherishing, for the time, the places, and the characters, while marvelling at how closely the author manages to capture the chaos, the aspirations, and the mad creativity of that time. ( )
  macha | Nov 24, 2023 |
this is my daisy jones and the six ( )
  orderofthephoenix | Oct 22, 2023 |
Featuring guest appearance of David Bowie (twice!).Fictional biography of an English rock band in the 1970s; very realistic, I wondered why Mitchell didn't just write about a real band; however his story managed to link back to Cloud Atlas (the journalist), and One Thousand Autumns (De Zoet), turning the story into fiction nicely. I loved the exploration of the mental illness of the band member, his rehabilitation, and ultimate cure which made the story a proper fictional entertaining and informative tale. I appreciated the chapter subheadings that read as record tracks, and gave the reader a forewarning of who's perspective the story would be written from. Visits to Hotel Chelsea. Was it this book if found a new favourite phrase "eyelashes like Venus Fly Traps"?. Probably. Enjoyable. Can't help but think, when David Mitchell has had enough of his universe creation, how long this interlinked books series will really be... ( )
  AChild | Aug 8, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
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Dean hurries past the Phoenix Theatre, dodges a blind man in dark glasses, steps onto Charing Cross Road to overtake a slow-moving woman and pram, leaps a grimy puddle and swerves into Denmark Street where he skids on a sheet of black ice.
Quotations
Art is a paradox. It is no sense but it is sense. (8%)
True love is the act of trying to love. Effortless love is as dubious as effortless gardening. (20%)
The snag with Paradise is, it's hard to earn a living there." (73%)
Life's precious. We forget it. All the time. We should't wait until a funeral to remember. (75%)
'Songs do not change the worls,' declares Jasper. 'People do. People pass laws, riot, hear God and act accordingly. People invent, kill, make babies, start wars.' Jasper lights a Malboro. 'Which begs a question. "Who or what influences the minds of the people who change the world?" My answer is "Ideas and feelings." Which begs a question. "Where do ideas and feelings originate?" My answer is, "Others. One's heart and mind. The press. The arts. Stories. Last, but not least, songs." Songs. Songs, like dandelion seeds, billowing across space and time. Who knows where they'll land? Or what they'll bring?" Jasper leans into the mic sings a miscellany of single lines from nine or ten songs.... 'Where will these song seeds land? It's the Parable of the Sower. Often, usually, they land on barren soil and don't take root. But sometimes, they land in a mind that is ready. Is fertile. What happens then? Feelings and ideas happen. Joy, solace, sympathy. Assurance Carthartic sorrows. The idea that life could be, should be, better than this An invitation to slip into somebody else's skin for a little while. If a song plants an idea or a feeling in a mind, it has already changed the world.' (88%)
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"Soho, London, 1967. Folk-rock-psychedelic quartet Utopia Avenue is formed. Guitarist Jasper de Zoet, a shy, half-Dutch public-school musical prodigy, was hearing voices long before he dropped acid. Keyboardist Elf Holloway must defy the prejudices of her bank manager father, her housewife mother, and her age to forge her own career. Bassist Dean Moss cannot, will not, spend his life on the factory floor like everyone else in Gravesend. Band manager Levon Frankland--gay, Jewish, and Canadian--is not unduly burdened by conscience. The drummer is a drummer. Over two years and two albums, Utopia Avenue navigates the dark end of the Sixties: its parties, drugs and egos, political change and personal tragedy; and the trials of life as a working band in London, the provinces, European capitals and, finally, the promised land of America. What is art? What is fame? What is music? How can the whole be more than the sum of its parts? Can idealism change the world? How does your youth shape your life? This is the story of Utopia Avenue. Not everyone lives to the end"--

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amazon ca :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?
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