Pete Townshend to Publish First Novel

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Pete Townshend at Outside Lands, August 2017 (Photo by Marc Fong, used with permission)

Always looking for a new creative outlet, The Who’s Pete Townshend will now add novelist to his résumé. Titled The Age of Anxiety, the book—Townshend’s first novel—will be published Nov. 9 by Hachette Books.

The novel can be pre-ordered in the U.S. here and in the U.K. here.

According to advance word from the publisher, “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 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.”

Townshend explains, “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. 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.”

Related: Pete Townshend’s 10 best guitar moments with the Who

The 272-page book follows Townshend’s memoir, Who I Am, by seven years. He has also written newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, essays and scripts. Townshend was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and he has received many awards, including a Grammy in 1994 for The Who’s Tommy and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

Townshend published a short-story collection, Horse’s Neck, in 1985. A previous attempt at a novel, Ray High and the Glass Household, was abandoned but Townshend used some of the ideas from it in his 1993 solo album Psychoderelict. In 1977, Townshend launched his own Eel Pie publishing imprint and in 1983 he worked as an editor at the Faber and Faber publishing firm.

In addition to the novel, Townshend is currently in the studio working on the Who’s first studio album of new material in 13 years. Townshend has posted some notes about the sessions here.

Watch Pete Townshend perform “I’m One” in 2011

The Who are touring in 2019, performing their music with local orchestras. Tickets are available here and here.

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