The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
‘One of the most immersive novels I’ve ever read . . . a thrilling work’ TA-NEHISI COATES
‘Lovely and lyrical; a warm and wonderful intersection between journalism and fiction. This is a novel you’ll want to read out loud’ KILEY REID
A queen of punk before her time. A duo on the brink of stardom. A night that will define their story for ever.
Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, a Black punk artist before her time. Despite her unconventional looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her one night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together.
In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially Black women, who dare to speak their truth.
Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter, but as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens everything.
Provocative and haunting, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev introduces a bold new name in contemporary fiction and a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling.
‘As musical and revolutionary in tone and structure as it is in content . . . it tells the truth. A truth that bangs’ JASON REYNOLDS
‘Fantastic. What I love most of all about this book, though, is the way Walton quite literally inserts a strong, bold Black rock musician into a history that’s often discouraged us from shining, or from even entering at all. Magical’ ZAKIYA DALILA HARRIS
Delicious and deep ... a rollicking tale of 1970s New York - but with a fascinating twist * Elle US * [Layered] in both its organization and its impact, Dawnie Walton's novel tells the story of '70s musicians Opal and Nev and is alternatingly structured as an oral history and recurring editors' notes from a journalist assembling the twisty, politically inflected tale * Vogue US * Presented as an oral history of a cult band on the verge of reappraisal, Walton's debut is also a smart, sharp take on white privilege and who owns whose voice * The i * [An] absorbing tale bursting with colour . . . One for fans of Daisy Jones and The Six * Cosmopolitan * Walton pumps up the volume with a fresh angle on systemic racism and freedom of expression. This is a firecracker * Publishers Weekly * Walton's fabulous debut novel is an utterly fresh take on finding one's voice, on systemic racism and sexism, and on freedom of expression. That these heavy subjects don't weigh down this hugely entertaining novel are testament to Walton's deftness and skill * O, The Oprah Magazine * What a fresh, spirited book. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev has such a lived quality and its every character is so sharply observed, it's hard to believe this is a work of fiction. Then again, one is utterly transported by it: no matter how far away the reader is from the world of 1970s' New York rock and roll, we are let in to this generous, fascinating saga. A huge achievement * Caoilinn Hughes * By turns playful and serious, and always wonderfully entertaining, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is a fascinating account of a woman's search for her father and of the music business in the 1960s and early 70s. The immensely gifted Dawnie Walton creates a vivid chorus of voices as she tells the story of Opal's journey from a church in Detroit to the stage in New York where everything changes. This novel rocks. * Margot Livesey * Fantastic. I so desperately wanted Opal Jewel to have existed; I wanted to have experienced her music first-hand. What I love most of all about this book, though, is the way Walton quite literally inserts a strong, bold Black rock musician into a history that's often discouraged us from shining, or from even entering at all. Magical * Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of THE OTHER BLACK GIRL * The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is as musical and revolutionary in tone and structure as it is in content. It delves into the complexities of the creative life, specifically as it pertains to Black women, and instead of shying away or egg-shelling, it does what every good book does: tells the truth. A truth that bangs. That shrieks. A siren song to shatter what we've known of the novel. Things won't ever be the same after this. And I'm so happy Dawnie Walton has arrived * Jason Reynolds, author of the New York Times bestseller LONG WAY DOWN * Dawnie Walton's The Final Revival Of Opal & Nev is one of the most immersive novels I've ever read. This is largely because of Walton's skill at letting so many people talk in so many different ways. Voices are marshalled from across America, and then across the Atlantic, and blended seamlessly into a tale about black culture, black women, American capitalism. This is a thrilling work of polyphony -- a first novel, that reads like the work of an old hand * Ta-Nehisi Coates * Lovely and lyrical; a warm and wonderful intersection between journalism and fiction. This is a novel you'll want to read out loud. It's made for readers and music lovers who find themselves wishing that Behind The Music was still on the air * Kiley Reid *
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