(Review) Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved Utopia Avenue. It’s only the second David Mitchell I’ve read (the other being The Bone Clocks) but that, as well as having watched The Cloud Atlas movie a couple of times recently, was enough to see many of the references in Utopia Avenue with other characters, events, and themes of the extended ‘Mitchell Multiverse’. Although I feel this book stands up well enough by itself that a reader will enjoy and appreciate it without knowing his other works (although knowing them will no doubt enrich the experience).
The book, set in the 60’s, follows the formation and rise of Utopia Avenue, a psychedelic folk-rock band consisting of Dean, Elf, Griff & Jasper as well as their manager Levon. Each chapter is the name of one of the songs and the book is broken into sections – the ‘A’ and ‘B’ side of each album. The chapters central character/viewpoint is the person who wrote the song in question.
The book is sprinkled with guest appearances from real life musicians – from David Bowie & Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen to Brian Jones, Janis Joplin to Jerry Garcia, and many, many more.
The characters are very well developed and you really feel for them as they undergo highs and lows on their rise to hopeful stardom.
It was a book I didn’t want to finish as I was enjoying my time with the band. But alas, the record had to stop and every journey ends. Fantastic read. 5/5

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