Pete Townshend, one of the founder members of the rock group The Who, has created what he likes to term as a torturous novel in The Age of Anxiety, destined to be eventually, he hopes, an Opera, and to this end, the narrative certainly has all it takes to be seriously considered as a ‘rock-style work’ for the stage.
Life, death, mystique, murder, drugs, love, hope, music and more music, with an eventual finale tying up only some of the many loose ends, while all the time paving the way for a sequel, is the perfect mix for a grand opera, based in the hard living world of ‘destruction set to music’ (sic).
But what to make of this work, which took many years to complete, is going to depend on how the many characters are received, as the plot twists and turns in a somewhat similar style to Townshend’s own life, with the plot line obviously influenced by his life as not just a rock legend and immensely talented musician, but of a man in pursuit of spirituality.
Louise Doxtader is the main character, a man turning sixty-seven, a man who is writing a book; a book he feels driven to write about his life as he tries desperately to find some sort of balance, some sort of reasoning for his past, his future and everything in between.
In some aspects it is that of a detective novel with Doxtader trying to discover who, what, why, where and when the various events happened, the bearing this has had on his life, his family and close friends, and what would be the eventual outcome.
Fascinating, but definitely a read that takes time, as the many twists and turns take some assimilation, with the plot such that is all too easy to lose track of the various subplots, which embellish the life of Doxtader, his journey and his eventual acceptance of his life, as undertaken to that time.
As he said in the beginning ‘After you have heard my story, you will be able to make up your own mind’, which happens to be true. But what of Sybil, the psychic woman who rents the room to Doxtader while he is writing his memoir; who is she and what is her real role in what has befallen Louie Doxtader and his family.
Operatic to the final note, err word, rather!