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Dawnie Walton

Autor(a) de The Final Revival of Opal and Nev

1 Work 687 Membros 29 Críticas 1 Favorited

Obras por Dawnie Walton

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev (2021) 687 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Local de nascimento
Jacksonville, Florida, USA



A journalist wants to find out the truth about her father and his affair with the singer Opal Jewel. In doing so, she interviews Opal and other bandmates, as well as others who were either influencers or admirers of Opal. Nev was her bandmate and the journalist questions his intentions and feelings for Opal, as well as his involvement in the incident that killed the journalist's father.
A good introspective on the music scene of the 1970s, as well as the sex, drugs, and the racial tensions.
… (mais)
rmarcin | 28 outras críticas | May 6, 2024 |
Another DNF.

This isn't terrible, I was not repelled as I was by Daisy Jones or appalled as I was by Eveyn Hugo, but I simply could not have cared less about finding out what was coming next because it could not have been more obvious what was coming next.

I have mentioned before that I do not like these fictional oral histories which have become popular, maybe due to the success of Taylor Jenkins Reid. This format is the saving grace of writers too lazy or mediocre to learn to write dialogue and complex characters. I think I am going to officially make this my last. Actual oral histories are great, I am a big fan of a many and especially the work of historians like Svetlana Alexievich and Studs Terkel, the brilliant Please Kill Me from Legs McNeil, and the spectacularly good oral histories that came out of the WPA (especially the Slave Narrative Collection.) Unvarnished truth is alluring. But in fiction IMO they are just plain lazy, and are an unremitting bore to read. There is no action, no nuance and characters have no concerns or interests that to do not fit into the narrative. It is like paint-by-numbers novel writing. Draft your treatment and then create characters that can be your mediums to speak the words that you need spoken in order to reach the end you have decided on. Every good novelist talks about how at some point they lose a little control because they have created characters that will act as they act, and they (the novelist) then has to go in that direction. That is the opposite of this sort of book, here the characters have no life at all -- they are props. I guess if you like this kind of storytelling this is a good enough iteration.… (mais)
Narshkite | 28 outras críticas | May 1, 2024 |
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.
… (mais)
bschweiger | 28 outras críticas | 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.… (mais)
LizzK | 28 outras críticas | Dec 8, 2023 |



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