Belfast Telegraph

The Who’s Pete Townshend announces debut novel

The musician’s rock novel, The Age Of Anxiety, will be published later this year.

Pete Townshend has written a rock novel, The Age Of Anxiety (Yui Mok/PA)
Pete Townshend has written a rock novel, The Age Of Anxiety (Yui Mok/PA)

The Who’s Pete Townshend has announced his debut novel, to be published in November this year.

The guitarist and singer has penned The Age Of Anxiety, which is described by Coronet Books publisher Mark Booth as “a great rock novel”.

Townshend, 73, said the book began as a story for a rock opera.

“Ten years ago I decided to create a magnum opus that would combine opera, art installation and novel.

“Suddenly here I am with a completed novel ready to publish. I am an avid reader and have really enjoyed writing it.

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Pete Townshend has written a book which will be published later this year (Alistair Wilson/PA)

“I am also happy to say the majority of the music is composed, ready to be polished up for release and performance. It’s tremendously exciting.”

According to a brief synopsis, the book opens with a rock star turned film star standing on top of a hill in the Lake District. He becomes a recluse and ends up “painting the visions he sees”.

Many years later, he meets the novel’s hero, a character named Walter, who is also a rock star.

It says: “The novel explores the dynamics of being in a band and the cut-throat side of the music business.

“It also reveals the dark art of creativity. Central to the plot is Walter’s relationship with two beautiful Irish sisters who compete for emotional control over him. The entire project was inspired by a sense that we live in an age of anxiety.”

Booth said: “The Age Of Anxiety is a great rock novel, but that is one of the less important things about it.

“The narrator is a brilliant creation – cultured, witty and unreliable.

“The novel captures the craziness of the music business and displays Pete Townshend’s sly sense of humour and sharp ear for dialogue.

“First conceived as an opera, The Age Of Anxiety deals with mythic and operatic themes including a maze, divine madness and long-lost children.

“Hallucinations and soundscapes haunt this novel, which on one level is an extended meditation on manic genius and the dark art of creativity”.

An opera is “in development” as well as “an announcement about the release of an album of the music and news of the proposed art installation will follow”, a release said.

Townshend has previously written rock operas Quadrophenia and Tommy, based on the band’s albums of the same names.

He published his memoirs, titled Who I Am, in 2012. He also previously worked for publishing house Faber & Faber and in 1985 released a collection of short stories titled Horse’s Neck.

PA

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