2021 Reading Challenge

2021 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 3 books toward her goal of 245 books.

Book Review: Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

Okay I don’t exactly know what I was expecting – Slade House is the only David Mitchell I’ve read to date (although like every third reader in America I own The Bone Clocks and just haven’t started it) and I was absolutely transfixed by it… The writing, the originality, the weirdness – everything about it worked perfectly to my taste as a reader. So I was eager to dive into this one, both because I had such a great experience with Slade and because it was a 60s British music scene story.

Yet from almost the very beginning, I felt like I was reading something in another language – I could follow along okay but still somehow felt like I was missing a context or a set of idiomatic understandings that would make the whole thing resonate. It was frustrating and disconcerting and made the read very difficult and not at all enjoyable as a result. I’ve looked at a bunch of other reviews, and I’m starting to think what I’m missing is a sense of David Mitchell. Slade House hinted at it, but I think to fully engage with this (or any of his longer works, from what I’m gathering) it helps immensely to have multiple exposures to his writing and Multiverse. So I’m going to set this one aside for now – I really want to like it and give it the read out deserves, but don’t feel like I can adequately do that without a little more Mitchell under my belt first…

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

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