It’s 1994. The music industry is mourning Kurt Cobain, Right Said Fred have re-emerged as an ‘ironic’ pop act and John Major is the country’s prime minister. Nothing is as it should be.
Emma, a working-class rock music fan from Hull, with a penchant for a flaming Drambuie and a line of coke with her best mate Dave down The Angel, is troubled.
Trev, her beloved whippet, has doggy IBS, and her job ordering bathroom supplies at the local caravan company is far from challenging. So when her dad, Tel, informs her that Kurt Cobain has killed himself aged 27, Emma is consumed with anxiety.
Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix…why have so many rock musicians died aged 27? And will Emma be next to join The Twenty Seven Club?
I really enjoyed The Twenty Seven Club. It’s steeped in a lovely 90s vibe that is a real joy to read. Told from the point of view of Emma, a young woman from Hull who enjoys rock music, beers (and the occasional Drambuie or a little something… extra) with her best mate Dave down their local. She’s shaken by the untimely death of her rock hero Kurt Cobain at 27, and is filled with worry that she’s approaching that age.
The book follows Emma’s daily life, the highs (literal, in some cases) and lows of life in Hull in the nineties and her existential crisis following Cobain’s suicide. The music forms a backdrop to Emma’s life and story, and as someone who was there (though slightly younger than Emma in 1994) is pitch-perfect for the time.
I read this book in two sittings, staying up far too late one night and getting up early the following morning to finish it off. I enjoyed spending time with Emma and Dave (and her whippet Trev), and following their adventures over the course of the book. It’s warm, often funny, and a delightful dose of 90s nostalgia.
The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol is out now. Huge thanks to the author for the free copy to review via NetGalley. Opinions are, as always, my own.