‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid charts the rise to fame of a fictional 1970s rock group based in California and the making of their seminal album ‘Aurora’. Billy Dunne formed The Six with his brother Graham and fellow band members, Eddie, Warren, Karen and Pete. Following the success of a collaboration with Daisy Jones, the solo artist and rising star officially joins the group. However, the dynamic between Billy and Daisy as two competing singer-songwriters soon becomes a fraught one when they embark on creating a hit record together.
‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ is said to be inspired by Fleetwood Mac and the making of ‘Rumours’ and although events do not exactly mirror those of the real band, the character of Daisy Jones appears to be modelled heavily on Stevie Nicks and sex, drugs, creative differences and huge egos all feature heavily in the story, just as they do in the history of more or less every great rock band since the Beatles. However, unlike most narratives about this subject, the story tends to focus on the perspectives of the female characters, particularly Daisy but also Billy’s wife, Camila, and the band’s keyboard player, Karen.
The novel is written as a transcript of a rock documentary, as though each band member, their managers, music critics and others involved at the height of their fame had been interviewed separately looking back on events forty years earlier, with their voices stitched together so that the story is told chronologically. One limitation of the documentary form is that we don’t really get to see “outtakes” of the characters or access to their private thoughts, only what they are prepared to say in front of a camera for public broadcast. However, the differing accounts of past events which often contradict each other are clearly shaped by hindsight, misunderstanding, nostalgia and memories of varying degrees of reliability and this allows the reader to speculate about how honest some of the characters are and what they may be choosing not to reveal. Reid also has a good feel for how people actually talk when they are being interviewed and how they recount events, adding to the authenticity of the narrative style.
This is a really fun book, heavy on 1970s nostalgia and breezy in style. The format is innovative and is sure to be adapted successfully for television after being picked up by Amazon.