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Black Swan Green Paperback – 2 Apr 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; New Ed edition (2 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340822805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340822807
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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 )

Book Description

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mitchell is a fantastic writer, continuing to display chameleon skills with every book. he can write, truthfully, with several different voices, and in several different styles.

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
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who is a fan of David Mitchell (and even those who have not read him) will love this book. However, don't expect the style of his previous books: Number 9 Dream, Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten. This is the story of a year in the rather eventful life of Jason Taylor, a boy of 13 growing up in a village called Black Swan Green, Worcestershire, in the early 1980s. Jason, apart from being quite a normal 13 year old, is a stammerer who tries desperately hard to hide his 'secret' from the rest of his schoolmates. His story of his experiences at school is one that anyone who was a teenager can identify with: how he sees his parents, the teachers, bullies, and those strange creatures called girls. But what makes this teenage narrative come alive, what makes you feel like you are there with Jason Taylor is the often brutal honesty with which he tells his truth. He says all the things you thought about as a teenager growing up but didn't dare to articulate. Mitchell also manages to evoke a nostalgia for the 1980s, and his detailing is superb. You remember how you or your parents or friends felt during the recession, or the public mood during the Falklands War. And there is also a nice touch where Mitchell quite unexpectedly introduces a character from one of his stories in Cloud Atlas.

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!
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Format: Paperback
This is a little out of my usual genre for reading material. It was like digging up a time capsule from the 1980s with so many historical references to the times and it took me back even further to my school days in the 60s.
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.
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Format: Paperback
David Mitchell deserves awards for his writing because he must be the finest author around. Black Swan Green takes you through a year in the life of thirteen-year-old boy in a typical English village in 1982. His references to events of the time, in particular the Falklands War take you back as you read. It does help that Jason Taylor is a very likeable, intelligent and yet vulnerable boy, being afflicted with a stammer, and the book is very painful to read at times as he suffers that most bleak and hurtful thing, bullying. I'd recently read Cloud Atlas which was a brilliant but quite difficult read and I knew this book was a lot easier but I was surprised that he even linked this book to Cloud Atlas through the amazing and surreal Madame Crommelynck daughter of Vyvyan Ayrs and who was the unrequited love of the tragic Robert Frobisher. Overall this book is an absolute 'must' read, as good as 'Catcher in the Rye'.
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