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Summary

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 '70s 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 politicised 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.

Full list of narrators: Priya Ayyar, Matthew Lloyd Davies, David Sadzin, Dennis Boutsikaris, Fiona Hardingham, Gabra Zackman, George Newbern, Inés del Castillo, Jackie Sanders, James Langton, Janina Edwards, Leon Nixon, Matthew Lloyd Davies, Pete Simonelli, Priya Ayyar, Robin Miles, Steve West

©2021 Dawnie Walton (P)2021 Simon & Schuster Audio

Critic reviews

"One of the most immersive novels I've ever read...a thrilling work." (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

"An absolutely brilliant book." (Sara Collins)

"One of the books of the year." (Stylist)

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Interminable

Full disclosure: this was a book club choice; I doubt I would have selected it for myself. I could not engage with the characters, which I think was down to the way the book is structured. It ended up feeling like the rough notes for an documentary on some obscure band. The underlying story was skinny and could have been told more succinctly and compellingly using a conventional narrative. I could barely wait for it to end.

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Stunning

Wonderful story and very vividly told. Hope to see more of this writer. Totally gripping and well narrated.