The Who’s Pete Townshend, the creator of rock operas like Tommy and Quadrophenia, has penned his first “rock novel.” The Age of Anxiety, due out November 5th, is an “extended meditation on manic genius and the dark art of creativity,” the novel’s publishers Hachette Books and Coronet announced Tuesday.
The multimedia-minded Townshend also revealed that the novel is the first chapter in a three-part Age of Anxiety project that also includes an art installation and an opera.
“Ten years ago I decided to create a magnum opus that would combine opera, art installation and novel,” Townshend said in a statement. “Suddenly here I am with a completed novel ready to publish. I am an avid reader and have really enjoyed writing it. 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.”
Coronet publisher Mark Booth said of the London-set The Age of Anxiety, “The novel captures the craziness of the music business and displays Townshend’s sly sense of humor 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.”
The Guardian noted that The Age of Anxiety isn’t Townshend’s first foray into fiction writing: The guitarist previously published his short story collection Horse’s Neck in 1985 and completed – but never published – a novel titled Ray High and the Glass Household, although portions of that story were reused for his 1993 album Psychoderelict. Townshend, who owned a bookstore and worked as an editor at Haber & Haber, also recorded the album White City: A Novel in 1985.