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‘A thrilling work’ TA-NEHISI COATES

‘Lovely and lyrical . . . warm and wonderful’ KILEY REID

‘An absolutely brilliant book’ SARA COLLINS

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 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 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.

‘As musical and revolutionary in tone and structure as it is in content . . . it tells the truth. A truth that bangs’ JASON REYNOLDS

‘A marvelous musical tale of friendship, betrayal, and the power that comes with self-reclamation. This story will stay with me for many years to come’ LAYLA SAAD

‘Fantastic. What I love most of all about this book, though, is the way Walton quite literally inserts a strong, bold Black rock musician into a history that’s often discouraged us from shining, or from even entering at all. Magical’ ZAKIYA DALILA HARRIS

‘A packed time capsule that doubles as a stick of dynamite’ NEW YORK TIMES

‘An absorbing tale bursting with colour’ COSMOPOLITAN

‘One of the books of the year’ STYLIST

‘An utterly fresh take on finding one’s voice’ O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

Reviews

Lovely and lyrical; a warm and wonderful intersection between journalism and fiction. This is a novel you'll want to read out loud. It's made for readers and music lovers who find themselves wishing that Behind The Music was still on the air
Kiley Reid
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is as musical and revolutionary in tone and structure as it is in content. It delves into the complexities of the creative life, specifically as it pertains to Black women, and instead of shying away or egg-shelling, it does what every good book does: tells the truth. A truth that bangs. That shrieks. A siren song to shatter what we've known of the novel. Things won't ever be the same after this. And I'm so happy Dawnie Walton has arrived
Jason Reynolds, author of the New York Times bestseller LONG WAY DOWN
Walton pumps up the volume with a fresh angle on systemic racism and freedom of expression. This is a firecracker
Publishers Weekly
Walton's fabulous debut novel is an utterly fresh take on finding one's voice, on systemic racism and sexism, and on freedom of expression. That these heavy subjects don't weigh down this hugely entertaining novel are testament to Walton's deftness and skill
O, The Oprah Magazine
By turns playful and serious, and always wonderfully entertaining, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is a fascinating account of a woman's search for her father and of the music business in the 1960s and early 70s. The immensely gifted Dawnie Walton creates a vivid chorus of voices as she tells the story of Opal's journey from a church in Detroit to the stage in New York where everything changes. This novel rocks.
Margot Livesey
[An] absorbing tale bursting with colour . . . One for fans of Daisy Jones and The Six
Cosmopolitan
[Layered] in both its organization and its impact, Dawnie Walton's novel tells the story of '70s musicians Opal and Nev and is alternatingly structured as an oral history and recurring editors' notes from a journalist assembling the twisty, politically inflected tale
Vogue US
Presented as an oral history of a cult band on the verge of reappraisal, Walton's debut is also a smart, sharp take on white privilege and who owns whose voice
The i
Delicious and deep ... a rollicking tale of 1970s New York - but with a fascinating twist
Elle US
Dawnie Walton's The Final Revival Of Opal & Nev is one of the most immersive novels I've ever read. This is largely because of Walton's skill at letting so many people talk in so many different ways. Voices are marshalled from across America, and then across the Atlantic, and blended seamlessly into a tale about black culture, black women, American capitalism. This is a thrilling work of polyphony -- a first novel, that reads like the work of an old hand
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Fantastic. I so desperately wanted Opal Jewel to have existed; I wanted to have experienced her music first-hand. What I love most of all about this book, though, is the way Walton quite literally inserts a strong, bold Black rock musician into a history that's often discouraged us from shining, or from even entering at all. Magical
Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of THE OTHER BLACK GIRL
What a fresh, spirited book. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev has such a lived quality and its every character is so sharply observed, it's hard to believe this is a work of fiction. Then again, one is utterly transported by it: no matter how far away the reader is from the world of 1970s' New York rock and roll, we are let in to this generous, fascinating saga. A huge achievement
Caoilinn Hughes
The book bursts with clear-eyed takes on race, sex, and creativity that Walton unfurls in urgent, endlessly readable style
Entertainment Weekly
Like the best fiction, it feels truer and more mesmerizing than some true stories. It's a packed time capsule that doubles as a stick of dynamite
New York Times Book Review
Walton has penned a true wonder of a debut novel . . . her writing is impeccable
Library Journal
The quixotic Opal is a wonderfully flawed heroine and her frustration as a Black female singer denied a voice is particularly apposite. Fans of Daisy Jones & The Six will love it
Red
A dazzling debut
Louise O'Neill
Provocative, daring and a remarkable female heroine make this unforgettable
Image
With beautiful, honest writing and an otherworldly way of bringing her characters to life, it is safe to say that Dawnie Walton has created a masterpiece with The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
Reading Happy blog
Dawnie Walton's debut is a smash hit. At the heart of the story is Opal Jewel; an audaciously unapologetic Afro-punk heroine, who is so alive as a character that it feels as though Walton has rewritten music history
Irish News
Daisy Jones & The Six fans will love this story
Good Housekeeping
[A] brilliant, crackling firework of a debut
Daily Mirror
In a combination of music, politics, race and feminism that transcends the line between fiction and reality, Walton makes a poignant statement about freedom of expression and finding your own path
Press Association
Poignant . . . a smash hit
Woman's Way
An engaging and fun read, a case of fiction being truer and more revealing than fact
International Times
My heart races thrillingly every time I think about Opal & Nev! A marvelous musical tale of friendship, betrayal, and the power that comes with self-reclamation. This story will stay with me for many years to come
Layla Saad
Walton has created an entirely believable and powerful universe that looks at race, talent, envy and forgiveness and is filled with emotion. It's one of the books of the year
Stylist
Walton has delivered a thoughtful page-turner that locks into its groove early on, and offers a timely exploration of both feminist agency and America's seemingly insoluble problem with race
Big Issue
Incredible. There was a moment while reading when the volume of the world went on mute, for me. An absolutely brilliant book
Sara Collins