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The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, by Dawnie Walton

Review copy provided by the publisher.

This is a fictional piece of rock journalism. It reads like any other book about one of the musical acts of the late ’60s, complete with interviews with label execs, family members, colleagues, and hangers-on. But the people and the events in it are all fictional.

And it is so good.

Walton’s own background includes entertainment journalism, and it shows, not just in her absolutely pitch-perfect rendering of the genre in a fictional form but also in her observations of the personalities within it. And she uses the known elements of this genre to build something beyond itself–at first the ways in which each character may not be fully honest, may be self-justifying or reclusive or rude, seem to be entertaining and beautifully done, but they are that and they are plot. Who is given the benefit of the doubt and who is left hanging out to dry. Who’s the big talent and who’s lucky just to be there. All of these things are so familiar from the realities of music journalism that it takes a moment to realize what Walton is really doing here–and doing it beautifully, backwards and in five-inch platform heels. Highly recommended.

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