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The Final Revival of Opal and Nev

av Dawnie Walton

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6632734,817 (3.83)33
"Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can't imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job--despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar's amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. 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 to blow up everything."--… (mer)
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» Se även 33 omnämnanden

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This book is structured as a series of interviews, newspaper clippings, transcript excerpts, and the interviewer's own commentary. Generally, I don't care for novels so constructed but it worked very well here. Dawnie Walton wrote quite a compelling debut novel.

It is 2015. The interviewer, Sunny Shelton, is the first female and Black editor in chief of Aural Magazine, obviously based on Rolling Stone. She is gathering an oral history surrounding a momentarily brilliant avant-garde proto-punk duo and a tragic event that occurred at their biggest show. The tragedy at the center involved Ms. Shelton's father, the drummer backing Opal and Nev.

We meet Nev Charles first, a carrot-topped British singer-songwriter, who moves to New York City to try to make it in the music business circa 1970. He goes on tour to try to find a female singer to team up with and after months on the road, he and his manager, Bob Hize, got to a local bar in Detroit, where Nev sees Opal and Pearl Robinson perform at an open mic event. Pearl is the one with the real voice, but Nev sees something in Opal that compels him to sign her up. They make one album but it does not do well. Their first big opportunity for wider exposure ends tragically in racial violence. While they try touring again after they recover from their physical injuries, their mental injuries from the riot ruin whatever magic they once had. Nev goes into rehab; Opal goes to Paris for nearly a year. The moment is lost. Nev goes on to have a successful solo pop career.

Opal Jewel (she chose Jewel as her stage name) is a complex, interesting central character in this novel. She is revealed to us early in the story through her her outward appearance: outrageous costuming, bright colors, wigs, her shaved head (she suffers from alopecia), but as the interviews unfold throughout, we start to see a little more of her inner self. Decades later, when Ms. Shelton is interviewing people for her story, we learn she, too, is tied to the Opal and Nev story. She is therefore on hand to witness the one last time Opal and Nev performed together, when Opal was in her late sixties.

Ms. Walton uses both the characters of Opal and Ms. Shelton to highlight how this country has never fully reckoned with racism or held its racists accountable for the damage they have done, the atrocities they have perpetrated, the lives they have destroyed. She creates this fictional band and weaves it into the real history of the 1970s beautifully. The only criticism I have is the device of the "editor's notes" because they seemed to interrupt the flow of the narrative. That is the only thing that took away from a perfect rating from me. ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
Slow start but ultimately hard to put down. The story is engaging, and I like the structure of seeing the narrative evolve through the voices of different characters embedded within the larger structure of notes for an oral history the narrator is researching. It takes staggering writing skill to make a structure like that work as compelling reading! As other reviewers said, by the ending I was wishing Opal & Nev – or at least their records – were real.

Thanks to #NetGalley for advance copy. ( )
  LizzK | Dec 8, 2023 |
I absolutely enjoyed how real the characters felt. I could see Opal being an actual person, and I loved her narrative, spunkiness, and confidence. I've (personally) never read a fake documentary in book form, but I couldn't put this book down.

And I love how it mentions black people's creation and contribution to rock music and our, at times, strained relationship with it. I've heard many times rock referred to as the devil's or white people's music lol.

Anyway, it is a common trope to have the journalist have a personal tie/self-invested interest in some way to the subject matter of their story, but I loved that Opal & Nev didn't drag that reveal out. It's mentioned on the first page, so we already know why the journalist has stakes in the story.

Everything in this story felt plausible. I felt like I was watching an episode of Unsung. ( )
  DestDest | Nov 26, 2023 |
This is the story of a young singer who teams up with an aspiring songwriter. It’s all about their success, then their inevitable breakup and downfall, ending with the expected comeback. The story is a flashback, told in short segments by the point of view of many characters. Too many characters, too many viewpoints. Readers will be subjected to different recountings of the same incidences too many times. The result is disjointed narrative. The novel is thoroughly laced with gratuitous bad language, which, if eliminated, would probably decrease the length of the novel by 25%. While many reviewers praised this novel, I disliked the writing style as well as the political nature that permeated the book. ( )
  Maydacat | Oct 6, 2023 |
"Of course you wish you could do something more for every single one of them. Maybe something different, if you’d had the good sense to know what that was. But at the time the best I could do was be Opal Jewel, because that seemed to mean a lot to them."

I have to three star this because it took me two months to get through it despite being one of my most highly anticipated books (hello yes DAISY is one of my favourite all time books.)

That last scene got to me so badly. I have been on the barricade so many times. I've been on that barricade for Foals at a festival--I could have been at that one. I have jumped and screamed and accidentally elbowed people. Hell, I've had a man tell me off because my ponytail was too bouncy when I was on the barricade. I've battled for that spot and I've respected the people there that have made their way there and appreciate how close they are to the artist, who cry and sing and dance their hearts out with me, and I've taken many an elbow and many a bruising for it...but that's the price and it's an okay price. And then you think about the Pearl Jam Roskilde situation and how they stopped playing because they got word of the situation and Vedder asked everyone to step back. But you also think of how easily they could have dismissed the concern if it had come from someone they didn't respect, and if the lives at stake were Black lives. Not that I think they would have, Pearl Jam seem like decent dudes. But all to say yeah, that final scene got to me maybe a bit more than it was supposed to.

The Janelle Monae and Tom Morello parts were gold. But alas, otherwise I just wasn't super captivated by this one! It's well plotted and well told but I just never got super sucked in. ( )
  whakaora | Mar 5, 2023 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Dawnie Waltonprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Ayyar, PriyaBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Boutsikaris, DennisBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Davies, Matthew LloydBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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del Castillo, InesBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Hardingham, FionaBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Langton, JamesBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Miles, RobinBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Sadzin, DavidBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Sanders, JackieBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Turpin, BahniBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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For my parents, and for Anthony
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Disclosure: My father, a drummer named Jimmy Curtis, fell in love with Opal Jewel in the summer of 1970. For the duration of their affair he was married to my mother, who in '71 got pregnant with me.
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And for those who are going through the tough times and don't have that kind of strength inside them already? Well, that's all right, because trust me: It can be learned. You just have to copy the right people, and the rest falls into place.
But that image, those symbols, that's what's insidious. Folks rally around that stuff, they claim it, they hurt people like you and me in the name of it.
But then the cartoon starts to pull away from reality, from the three dimensions that make you a human.... And when the laughs run out, you can't suddenly ask in the middle of the show, What happened? What you mean, what happened? That's the monster you made.
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"Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can't imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job--despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar's amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. 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 to blow up everything."--

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