TIME

Best-selling novelist David Mitchell visits the Age of Rock

IN DAVID MITCHELL’S NEW NOVEL, UTOPIA Avenue, a member of the 1960s psychedelic folk rock band that gives the book its name is asked by an interviewer which category its eclectic music falls into. “You’re like a zoologist asking a platypus, ‘Are you a ducklike otter? Or an otter-like duck?’” replies Jasper, the group’s virtuosic guitar player. “Like the platypus, I don’t care. We make music we like. We hope others like it too. That’s it.”

It’s hard not to read this as a wink at Mitchell’s own reputation for genre fluidity, given a body of work that encompasses historical fiction bildungsroman science fiction and a combination of the above ( for which he is best known). So, I ask the novelist over a recent video call,

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