- Hardcover: 371 pages
- Publisher: Sceptre; 1st. Edition edition (8 May 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0340822791
- ISBN-13: 978-0340822791
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 24 x 3.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Black Swan Green : Hardcover – 8 May 2006
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Black Swan Green's 'I love 1982' nostalgia is a glassy, pitch-perfect, mock-innocent surface through which something rotten might appear. (Ali Smith Sunday Telegraph)
David Mitchell is dizzyingly, dazzlingly good . . . Black Swan Green is just gorgeous. (Eithne Farry Daily Mail )
It is the best kind of contemporary fiction. ( TLS )
Hugely touching and enjoyable. (Rachel Cooke, Summer Reads Observer)
A delight to read from beginning to end. ( Sunday Express )
Luminously beautiful. ( The Times )
David Mitchell, author of the Man Booker-shortlisted CLOUD ATLAS, returns with a vintage novel destined to be his most captivating achievement to date
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Top Customer Reviews
In this book, on one level he damps down his pyrotechnics,by staying with one narrator throughout, rather than 'linking' different stories.
What he ends up with is a book of more traditional structure, following the journey of a adolescent boy, growing up in the early 80's in Worcestershire, with his own painful and often funny adolescence set against a backdrop of the Falklands War.
Whilst Mitchell can easily match Sue Townsend (Adrian Mole) with comedic touches, he also connects with something much more visceral and poignant.
His engaging narrator learns a lot in the space of a year about some very adult issues. This is a much easier book to read than Mitchell's others, and his craft is displayed much less flamboyantly, but is no less satisfying
The English countryside and village life is portrayed without the slightest hint of romanticism. A teenage boy doesn't see life like that. This is life in the raw. Jason sees the often brutal contests between boys to establish a pecking order, he is afraid of being ridiculed or beaten up after school, he worries about his status among the rest of the kids and he wonders if he will ever have a girlfriend. Life for young Jason Taylor is very serious indeed. In Black Swan Green, Mitchell makes a rather unpromising subject tense and fascinating. And it's a real pageturner -- you just have to know what happens next. Just buy this book!
I cannot make comparisons to Adrian Mole as I haven't read any of those stories but the connection seems to be there with the main character, Jason Taylor, being just thirteen years old.
Some have suggested that Mitchell wrote this as an autobiography as he, like his protagonist, suffers from stammering but many of the incidents portrayed in the book appear to be the work of an active imagination rather than the documentation of real events. I was much impressed by the intelligence and coherence of Jason's thirteeen-year-old thought processes. (Did we ever think that clearly at that age?) I am also grateful for being educated in the difference between stammering and stuttering.
The story covers a year in Jason's life, dealing with his disability, school bullies, his parents' marriage breakdown, rising libido, et al. I really liked Mitchell's writing style and his avoidance of cliches with imaginative similes although sometimes this led to difficult interpretations of what was actually meant.
In some places the dialogue (especially with the 'exotic Belgian emigre' with the unpronounceable name) read more like a professorial tutorial than a novel but that's by-the-by.
Altogether an engaging rite of passage story which was well-written, well-constructed and a pleasure to read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the first review of a book I've ever written - this one just compelled me to get involved in that malarkey. Read morePublished 3 months ago by S. P. Jones
Like the main character I was 13 in 1982 and this book certainly brought me back to that time; watching the Falklands news on the BBC and other cultural memories and reminders of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Damo Green
A powerfully told tale of a thirteen-year-old with a speech impediment. The language and viewpoint of a young teen is informative and endearing and you understand precisely his... Read morePublished 4 months ago by F. F. Ross
In retrospect, possibly not my most well thought out purchase. I'm not a boy, was not a teenager in the 80s and wasn't raised in Britain. Read morePublished 5 months ago by L. Taylor
Nothing happens. Absolutely nothing. At considerable length and in considerable detail.Published 6 months ago by Mr. R. T. Bowes
Couldn't put this down, mainly because I was in this book, David Mitchell hasn't disappointed yet, he slings stories around like he invented the genre. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Anthony Bools
Another great bitter-sweet novel from David Mitchell. Nostalgic and evocative of an early nineteen eighties inbetweener with just a hint perhaps of his own experiences of that era.Published 9 months ago by Workaway