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Utopia Avenue

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  33 reviews
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 youve never heard of. Emerging from Londons psychedelic scene in 1967 and fronted by folk singer Elf Holloway, guitar demigod Jasper de Zoet, and blues bassist Dean Moss, Utopia Avenue released only two LPs during its brief,
Hardcover, 592 pages
Expected publication: June 2nd 2020 by Random House
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  • Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
    Utopia Avenue
    Release date: Jun 02, 2020
    Enter for a chance to win one of 50 advance copies of UTOPIA AVENUE by David Mitchell, on sale June 2!

    Soho, London, 1967. Folk-rock-psychedelic

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    Giveaway dates: Mar 15 - Apr 10, 2020

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    Tim With a character surnamed "de Zoet", I'm pretty sure the answer is yes. :-)

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.36  · 
    Rating details
     ·  56 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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    Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Actual rating: 4.5 (rounded up)

    People of Goodreads, this one was worth the wait! David Mitchell is a gift to the literary world, and his groovy new novel, Utopia Avenue, TOPS THE CHARTS for me! This may very well be my favorite of the year (and its only February!).

    (A thousand thanks to Random House and NetGalley for providing me this ARC, in exchange for an honest review!)

    First things first: I LIIIIIIIVED for the music, pop culture, film, and history references in this book. David Mitchell chose
    Nilufer Ozmekik
    Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Welcome to the swinging sixties: to the world of youth-driven revolution, modernism combines with hedonism showing its creative flourishing at the art, music, fashion. The world of Vietnam War, hippies, drugs, sex, rebellion, rock n roll! But this is not a story about Four Liverpool boys conquer the world with their rhythm and charisma or the other band members made us empathize with devil and taught us the importance of having satisfaction.

    Nope this story is about Utopia Avenue, one of the
    Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    4.5, rounded up.

    [Warning: there is nothing of vital import given away in this review, but in order to discuss the book at all, some minor spoiler-ish material is involved - proceed at your own risk, if you prefer to NOT know those!}

    In many respects, this is a departure for Mr. Mitchell, and I think how people will react to it will largely depend on whether they are long-time die-hard aficionados (as I AM!) ... or if this is their first exposure to this definitely sui generis author. This
    Sep 26, 2019 marked it as to-read
    David Mitchell's new novel tells the unexpurgated story of Utopia Avenue; of riots in the streets and revolutions in the head; of drugs, thugs, madness, love, sex, death, art; of the families we choose and the ones we don't; of fame's Faustian pact and stardom's wobbly ladder. Can we change the world in turbulent times, or does the world change us? Utopia means 'nowhere' but could a shinier world be within grasp, if only we had a map?
    Sep 26, 2019 marked it as to-read
    So looking forward to this!:

    Announcing the book, which will be released next June, Mitchell quoted the maxim that writing about music is like dancing about architecture, saying that Utopia Avenue stemmed from it.
    Songs (mostly) use language, but music plugs directly into something below or above language. Can a novel made of words (and not fitted with built-in speakers or Bluetooth) explore the wordless mysteries of music, and musics impact on people and the world? How? Mitchell asked. Is it
    Here's one for lovers of progressive rock. Flashback to the sixties: The Beatles, Cream, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia. I remember being a teen in the nineties, and the resurgence of these bands, along with the drug culture. The story focuses on a group formed in these times, their journey to the top, the culture of the times, and the hidden philosophies of the music.

    David Mitchell has been one of my favorite authors for his eclectic style and imagination, and wisdom of
    The first page reads quintessential David Mitchell so this looks as promising as the super high expectations I had, but of course, it is early...
    On page 50 now and so far it only got better so much so it made me reread the first pages up to here (end chapter 2 - btw chapters have cool names, 1 is Abandon Hope and 2 is A Raft and a River, both quite appropriate for what happens).

    Finished the novel and I wouldn't want to spoil it beyond the tidbits from my progress notes. Ties in with a bunch of
    Nov 15, 2019 marked it as get-when-published  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: ty-fiction
    One of my favourite authors writing about one of my favourite subjects/themes? David Mitchell going fake!late-60s pop band? Is this for real? I mean - this blurb alone! I'm madly in love already.
    Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    My first non-5 star book by David Mitchell, and while it doesn't match up to his other titles, it is still wonderful to have a new addition to the Mitchell universe, where themes and characters recur and interweave in space and time (and out of it too). I loved the characters, the story lines and the magic of Mitchell's writing - so many lovely little pearls ("The moon is a chipped cueball." "A fighter jet unzipped the horizon.") I loved the intricate way he went forward and backward in time to ...more
    Amy Imogene Reads
    Coming home to this on my doorstep made a really crappy day into an unbelievably fantastic one. Can't wait to dive into this! Is it weird that it's giving me Daisy Jones & the Six vibes??

    Thank you to Random House for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
    Kasa Cotugno
    Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    This account of the relatively short-lived history of a fictitious band from late '60's London is so Mitchell, with its combination of pop culture, personality, a little of the supernatural, and many tie-ins to his previous works. There are cameos of many figures of the time, and since Mitchell wasn't born until 1969, it's amazing because it's as if he witnessed the era firsthand. The structure is unique. Chapters headings are song titles by the band members, identified by the composer, and ...more
    Wow. The thing about David Mitchell is, I'm not really a fan of all the paranormal, worlds colliding, deep thoughts about reincarnation, soul transference, horology, etc. stuff, but he's such a good writer that I get sucked into it anyway because the rest of the novel is such a fun, well-written read about the late 60s as told through the eyes of a newly-formed, burgeoning psychedelic rock band. Loved the name dropping, loved each and every one of the characters, really the most fun I've had ...more
    It is THAT good.
    David Mitchell fans are in for a treat.

    Penguin Random House, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the ARE!
    Alexandra Pearson
    Utopia Avenue is so good! I can't wait doe it to come out so everyone can read it. It you're a Mitchell fan, there are references to some of his other books, but this would also be a great first book of his to read. The way he builds characters and shapes the narrative is superb. I thought I knew what the climax was going to be and I was so wrong! He blends reality, madness and fantasy seamlessly. I wish Utopia Avenue were a real band, because I'd be their biggest fan!

    A bit like Daisy and the
    J.L. Ricketts
    Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    *Had the opportunity to read an advance copy.

    Mitchell plays the novel like a rhythm guitar in his latest dream-pop hit single "Utopia Avenue," an anthem to the weird and wonderful. Drawing from 1960s psychedelia, he creates a kaleidoscopic plot that spins the mind's eye's camera across perspectives, back in time, and through the cycle again; using a triad of habitable, unique voices--a hallmark of the author's--at the forefront; all while including and alluding to aspects from previous works,
    Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    There are already so many great reviews of this on so I will keep it brief. This kaleidoscopic tale of a fictional band called Utopia Avenue was an absolute delight. The time period is primarily 1967-1968 and covers the UK and American music, movie, and art scenes with burst of history as well. Of course, being a David Mitchell work there is so much more to what would already be an interesting story. The main characters (Dean, Elf, Jasper, and Griff) share the spotlight and Mitchell's ability to ...more
    Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
    big thanks to Random House for sending me this ACR.

    This was my first encounter with David Mitchell's prose, so I did not know what to expect. I dig how everything was connected in this one and those POV switches made me think about Julio Cortazar in a sense. It was definitely challenging in a pleasant way despite the fact that I probably did not get some of the references mentioned in this book. I enjoyed it a lot as it was a nice break from my reportage obsession. Hands down to its structure,
    Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    There is a great passage near the end of Utopia Avenue, David Mitchells engaging look at the British music scene circa 1967-68, in which one of the members in the fictional band of the books title is at a party talking to Frank Zappa. The two are discussing the difficulty of putting into words what it means to experience music when Zappa, citing the legendary Charles Mingus, says Ill take indescribablewriting about music is like dancing about architecture. Whether that attribution is accurate ...more
    Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: favorites
    (I won an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway, and this review is based on that ARC)

    We have been waiting so long for a new book from David Mitchell, I'm still reeling from getting the opportunity to read it early. I was also pretty nervous about about diving in after such a long wait and loving Mitchell's previous books.

    I'll be honest, it took a little while to get going and for me to feel like it was a "David Mitchell book", whatever that means. Of course, that was mostly my own anticipation and
    Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
    Thanks to NetGalley for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.

    I did not care for this book. Much of Utopia Avenue is a fairly unexciting, conventional story of a weird band's rise to moderate success -- it hits all the same notes as, for example, Queen's rise to fame in 2018's Bohemian Rhapsody, only that film has the benefit of being able to include Queen's music in it. This, on the other hand, gets bogged down with heavy passages of unsatisfying descriptions of (not real) songs.
    Historical fiction about a band formed in 1967 London. Deeply rooted in place and time but with psychedelic aspects to keep you floating as well. Has the ability to drive you coasting along with the characters on a sensual-driven series of events, livin' life, reveling in the setting, and then slam you headfirst into emotion or revelation. Characters are given distinct internal voices, and also their encounters are peppered with star-studded cameos from that musical era, thinking and talking ...more
    Apr 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Thanks to the publisher for a free advance copy on Netgalley!

    Explore the late-60s with David Mitchell and Utopia Avenue, a fictional British rock band trying to make it in the music industry. The chapters alter POV between the three singers/songwriters of Utopia Avenue, slowly giving us their back stories as the band tries to move forward in their career. I loved the dynamic between the four band members and their manager, finding the characters to be the strongest part of the book.

    Mar 25, 2020 marked it as to-read
    I'm a big fan of David Mitchell--*Ghostwritten* and *Cloud Atlas* are two of my favorite books. *Utopia Avenue* is both unlike earlier David Mitchell and at the same time, very much like David Mitchell.

    It's a book about a band (Utopia Avenue) in 1967-68 in London, and takes place in that narrow period of time, although we do get some backstory for some of the characters, and the epilogue fast forwards to the present day. And as expected, the author deftly weaves in references to the larger
    Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: net-galley
    I'm a big fan of David Mitchell--*Ghostwritten* and *Cloud Atlas* are two of my favorite books. *Utopia Avenue* is both unlike earlier David Mitchell and at the same time, very much like David Mitchell.

    It's a book about a band (Utopia Avenue) in 1967-68 in London, and takes place in that narrow period of time, although we do get some backstory for some of the characters, and the epilogue fast forwards to the present day. And as expected, the author deftly weaves in references to the larger
    Chris Scales
    Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Sherry Chiger
    Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    4.5 stars
    David Mitchell is one of those writers I had been too intimidated to read, so I'm delighted by how accessible, not to mention compulsively readable, "Utopia Avenue" is. The '60s London setting and the making-of-the-band premise are irresistible, the writing rich with insights and gemlike turns-of-phrase, and the characters so vivid. "Utopia Avenue" actually kept me awake during my 6:45 a.m. train rides to work, and not many other books do that.
    So why don't I give it five stars? Some of
    Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I've read all of David Mitchell's books so I was very excited to receive an advance reader's copy of this one. His writing style is both lyrical and slightly off key at the same time. I enjoyed all the call backs to his previous novels and characters. The "Mitchell Multiiverse" is part of the draw for me. Each novel is connected somehow and when you discover it, it's like solving a puzzle. In all honestly, I have no interest in the 1960s English music scene and although I recognized most of the ...more
    Tracey Thompson
    Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Until the end of Utopia Avenue, I think I'd been taking this book too seriously. I'm a huge fan of the other David Mitchell books I've read (The Bone Clocks, and Slade House), and they contained only the occasional laugh. I think Utopia Avenue is meant to be fun. It's pretty light-hearted, though there are some brief harrowing sections (and a smattering of magical realism for good measure).

    The book follows the fictional band, Utopia Avenue, and their rise to fame. Along the way, the band
    Brandon Peterson
    Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC,

    Once again, David Mitchell reminds me why hes my favorite living writer.

    Utopia Avenue, a fictional band from the 1960s UK, feel so real that I was actually imagining their tunes in my head while reading.

    Where Mitchell has gone for more genre based affairs in his recent work, Utopia Avenue showcases a straightforward, character based narrative. The book is very much in the Mitchell-verse, with tie ins to Cloud Atlas, The Thousand Autumns, Ghostwritten, and The
    Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Its mid-1960s London, and in the span of a few hours, Dean Moss gets mugged, evicted, and fired from his job. But salvation comes in the form of Levon Frankland, who is assembling musicians to form a psychedelic rock band. What follows is a meandering account of the bands failures and successes, punctuated with David Mitchells trademark mindfuckery. If you havent read any Mitchell before, do not start with this lest you spend 600 pages utterly confused. At the very least, read THE THOUSAND ...more
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    David Mitchell was born in Southport, Merseyside, in England, raised in Malvern, Worcestershire, and educated at the University of Kent, studying for a degree in English and American Literature followed by an M.A. in Comparative Literature. He lived for a year in Sicily, then moved to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English to technical students for eight years, before returning to England. ...more

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