award-winning writer David Mitchell comes a sinewy, meditative novel of boyhood
on the cusp of adulthood and the old on the cusp of the new.
Black Swan tracks a single year in what is, for thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor,
the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in a dying Cold War England,
1982. But the thirteen chapters, each a short story in its own right, create an
exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy. A world of
Kissingeresque realpolitikenacted in boys' games on a frozen lake; of
"nightcreeping" through the summer backyards of strangers; of the tabloid-fueled
thrills of the Falklands War and its human toll; of the cruel, luscious Dawn
Madden and her power-hungry boyfriend, Ross Wilcox; of a certain Madame Eva van
Outryve de Crommelynck, an elderly bohemian emigré who is both more and less
than she appears; of Jason's search to replace his dead grandfather's
irreplaceable smashed watch before the crime is discovered; of first cigarettes,
first kisses, first Duran Duran Lps, and first deaths; of Margaret Thatcher's
recession; of Gypsies camping in the woods and the hysteria they inspire; and,
even closer to home, of a slow-motion divorce in four seasons.
Pointed, funny, profound, left-field, elegiac, and painted with the stuff of
life, Black Swan Greenis David Mitchell's subtlest and most effective
achievement to date.
Poor old Jason, he's 13-years old, stuck in the most boring family, in the most boring village, in the most boring country on earth - to add insult to injury he stammers and has to submit his poetry to the local newspaper under an assumed name or he'd be teased unmercifully, and probably get beaten up. Mitchell captures the essence of 1982 Britain, from the high unemployment, Cold-War politics, and the Falklands war, down to the tiniest breakfast cereal detail, but he doesn't just capture an era, he also portrays that moment in time when a child becomes a teenager. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
He...captures the sheer pleasure of being a boy and brings to mind adventures shared by Huck and Tom.
The Washington Post
There's plenty of sadness.....but humor, too, and he spins them together subtly in this touching novel
Another triumph for one of the present age's most interesting and accomplished novelists
British slang and cultural idioms color the prose of brilliant stylist Mitchell, who conveys an emotional rapport with his characters
The Globe and Mail
Warmly personal, funny and as matter-of-fact and grounded as [Mitchell's] other books are enigmatic and lofty, Black Swan Green has a strong autobiographical flavour. . . . An easy and enjoyable read, Black Swan Green is at its most compelling when the dialogue is fraught with tension. . . . [I]t offers more in the way of intimacy [than Mitchell's other work]: It offers a friendship with its precocious and well-meaning young narrator that persists well beyond the last word.
Mitchell's rendering of time and place in this new book has a warm and lived-in feel. . . . [W]hat Mitchell has set out to do here to capture the flux of youth, and to dazzle the reader with everyday, awkward human interaction rather than clever narrative conceits is risky and rewarding. . . . Mitchell's obvious efforts to please the reader work wonderfully, and the novel is never less than tremendously engaging. . . .
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Cloggie Downunder a dazzling read Black Swan Green is the 4th novel by David Mitchell. It describes a year in the life of Jason Taylor, an intense, thoughtful but stammering thirteen-year-old budding poet living in darkest Worcestershire. Set in 1982, this is a very realistic... Read More
David Mitchell was born in Southport in 1969 and grew up in Malvern, England. He studied for a degree in English and American Literature followed by an MA in Comparative Literature at the University of Kent. He lived for a year in Sicily before moving to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English to technical students for eight years, before returning to England.
His first novel, Ghostwritten,
was published in 1999, it tells the interlocking stories of nine narrators in nine locations across the globe. It won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.
His second novel, number9dream (2001), set in modern-day Tokyo, was shortlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize for fiction.
In 2003 Granta magazine named him one of twenty 'Best of Young British Novelists'.
In 2004 he published Cloud Atlas about a young Pacific islander who witnesses the nightfall of science and civilization, while questions of history are explored in a series of seemingly disconnected...
Writer hired for fourth Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book(Dec 18 2013) The Swedish publisher of the late Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, has hired David Lagercrantz write a fourth novel which is...