Some stories are meant to be told out loud. Such is the case with Dawnie Walton’s heralded debut novel, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (13.5 hours), which comes to life through a full cast of incredible voice talents, including Janina Edwards, Bahni Turpin, James Langton and 15 others.
In a series of first-person interviews conducted by journalist S. Sunny Shelton, the fictional oral history recounts the story of an 1970s rock collaboration between glam Black American singer Opal Jewel and white British singer-songwriter Nev Charles. Walton skillfully blends in real-life events such as Vietnam War protests to firmly establish the narrative’s tone and time period, layering the duo’s rise to rock stardom with social, economic, racial and sexual undercurrents.
But it is the impressive array of characters, from the titular rock pair to Nev’s first piano teacher to the head of their iconic record label, that lends authenticity and rhythm to the story like nothing else. You’ll wish you could rush out to scour your local music store for Opal & Nev’s long-lost albums.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Debut novelist Dawnie Walton discusses the legacy of Black women in rock and the strange ways that music moves us—just a few of her pieces of inspiration for The Final Revival of Opal & Nev.