Black Swan Green

Black Swan Green From 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 Green tracks a single year in what is for t

From 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 Green 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 rigFrom 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 Green 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 realpolitik enacted 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 emigr who is both 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 Green is David Mitchell s subtlest and most effective achievement to date.

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Black Swan Green

  1. David Mitchell was born in Southport, Merseyside, in England, raised in Malvern, Worcestershire, and educated at the University of Kent, studying for a degree in English and American Literature followed by an M.A in Comparative Literature He lived for a year in Sicily, then moved to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English to technical students for eight years, before returning to England After another stint in Japan, he currently lives in Ireland with his wife Keiko and their two children In an essay for Random House, Mitchell wrote I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, but until I came to Japan to live in 1994 I was too easily distracted to do much about it I would probably have become a writer wherever I lived, but would I have become the same writer if I d spent the last 6 years in London, or Cape Town, or Moose Jaw, on an oil rig or in the circus This is my answer to myself Mitchell s first novel, Ghostwritten 1999 , moves around the globe, from Okinawa to Mongolia to pre Millennial New York City, as nine narrators tell stories that interlock and intersect The novel won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for best work of British literature written by an author under 35 and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award His two subsequent novels, number9dream 2001 and Cloud Atlas 2004 , were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize In 2003, he was selected as one of Granta s Best of Young British Novelists In 2007, Mitchell was listed among Time Magazine s 100 Most Influential People in The World Mitchell s American editor at Random House is novelist David Ebershoff.

120 Reply to “Black Swan Green”

  1. I m about to start gushing over this book now, so look out I may end up stammering my way through this review, but if I do, just consider it a tribute to Jason Taylor.So Black Swan Green This is the first David Mitchell book I ve read but I assure you, it will not be the last I loved everything about this book I RELATED to everything about this book True, I have no idea what it s like to be a 13 year old British boy growing up in the 80 s, yet there is something so universal about this character [...]

  2. The world unmakes stuff faster than people can make it Month by month our lives spiral forth into the future, with each moment shaping who we are and who we will become It is no wonder that the pivotal years of adolescence, the stage of development classified by Erik Erikson as the Identity vs Role Confusion stage, is fertile land for novels if the nutrients of such land has been dried up from overuse of such topics is up for debate Mitchell s Black Swan Green examines this tumultuous period of [...]

  3. I think it was the summer between eighth and ninth grades that I had an absolutely hellish summer camp experience For whatever reason I got branded as the person to pick on and just about everything that I did was turned into a series of jokes at my expense I haven t thought of this experience in quite sometime, it s sort of one of those things that I just don t dwell on, but it was one of those times that seriously fucked me up Some of the taunting that Jason Taylor goes through in this book ki [...]

  4. I have a soft spot for coming of age books So whenever I start a coming of age, I keep chanting, please be good I hate it when I don t like such story as I think they are beautiful, if written in right way, and perhaps one of the hardest kind to write It s difficult to capture the emotions of an adolescent It s such a tender age where kids are coming to terms to with life, when they try to fit in or hide away when parents let them come out of their shadows and the brutal world is trying to teach [...]

  5. Sometimes I look forward to reviewing a book other times it can feel like an unwanted chore, like mopping the floor This falls into the latter category Not because I didn t enjoy it I did but because I can t find much to say about it It s about a thirteen year old boy who is bullied at school As a parent boys are difficult at thirteen The spontaneity and moments of genius have retreated behind double glazing A surly self consciousness has replaced the old inclination to dig and dance and sing Wh [...]

  6. Rating 1.5 of five p66 Strike one Teenaged protagonist.Strike two, and ball one of strike three Majgicqk Or something like it.Strike three David Mitchell s writing reminds me of all the MFA program writing I ve ever read.I thought The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Cloud Atlas were disorganized, and NO I did NOT misunderstand the fractured POV he used, I thought he did a poor job of executing it, and I found the preciosity of his phrasemaking in each of the three books I ve either read th [...]

  7. I have failed to understand why this novel is sometimes disregarded even by Mitchell s admirers Because Mitchell accustomed us with his earlier works to something bizarre and flamboyant BecauseBlack Swan Greenis so ordinary Adolescence is a real torture, especially for sensitive, smart but morbidly lacking of self confidence one And so Jason is Thirteen year old from some jerkwater town, struggling with own deficiencies and fears In some respects Jason has really rough times he s stammering and [...]

  8. David Mitchell is known for dazzling innovation and dizzying ambition Intricately structured novels such as Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten are grand kaleidoscopes of intersecting voices and places This book is a change of pace, however It focuses on a single character in a single location But despite its narrowed scope, it is no less powerful or captivating than his other works.Jason Taylor is our hero, a thirteen year old boy in the sleepy middle class town of Black Swan Green, Worcestershire On [...]

  9. Just as I opened the cover of the book, I was hit by a barrage of praise for the book comments May be I should have stopped right there But I didn t Hence this review.When I watch a Hollywood movie or a TV show involving American schools, I see schoolkids overly concerned with social status and pecking order There are these popular and cool kids, then there are nerds and other such stereotypes They have to constantly worry about whose parties they get invited to, who they are seen talking to in [...]

  10. Onvan Black Swan Green Nevisande David Mitchell ISBN 812974018 ISBN13 9780812974010 Dar 304 Safhe Saal e Chap 2006

  11. A Spelling TestI kept this book on the shelf for a few years, before thinking I was ready to read it I didn t want to break the spell of the first two David Mitchell books that I had read I didn t really like Cloud Atlas and I was a bit apprehensive about the subject matter of a young teenage boy Ultimately, it was very much a book of two halves for me Teenage Mates LandThe first half captured male teenagerdom in the period in the 60 s and 70 s when I grew up and the 80 s when Jason grew up perf [...]

  12. I remember describing this book to a coworker Me It s about this little stuttering English kid who lives out in some little village during the Thatcher era, and sort of like, his coming of age kind of experiences Coworker Oh God, that sounds awful Me No I mean, I know it sounds awful the way I just explained it, but the book s actually really, really great Two days later.Me privately, to self Oh, God, this is awful I don t know what happened This book started out really amazing me, seeming super [...]

  13. This warm and big hearted coming of age tale of a 13 year old boy, Jason Taylor, set in rural south central England in the early 80 s has plenty of charm It s sweet, but not sappy Its magic lies in the capturing of innocence of that age at that time and place, from the electricity of a first kiss and sickness from a first cigarette to the pull of dancing to the Talking Heads and of jingoistic feelings inspired by Maggie Thatcher s war for the Falkland Islands The dark side of things in this stor [...]

  14. Black Swan Green surfed out of David Mitchell after the literary ocean had swept up Cloud Atlas and smashed it repeatedly against the shore marked greatness , where it burst open and loads of critical acclaim and literary awards came gushing out I read Cloud Atlas first and managed to protect myself against the gushing geyser of praise by having a suitably large umbrella Sadly my umbrella is mostly made of a thin but impermeable layer of cynicism so I didn t have as many lovely things to say abo [...]

  15. In every review of Black Swan Green I ve read, the reviewer made sure to include some remark like This isn t nearly as ambitious as Cloud Atlas or I was expecting this to be like Cloud Atlas and, like, it totally wasn t And that s really not fair to BSG because the two books are delightful and beautiful in their own ways for different reasons.I had no idea what to expect from this book I picked it up because I bloody love David Mitchell and, yes, Cloud Atlas, which I do adore so very much, WAS [...]

  16. Why is it that bad memories from adolescence never seem to fade away I mean really, it s been a pretty long time since I was in junior high, yet there s certain times that those memories come flooding back to the point where it feels like all those events just happened yesterday Being a shy, bookish type girl did not go over well in the junior high social scene, believe me I remember one day getting off the bus after school, enduring than the usual amount of name calling and laughing, when one [...]

  17. This is a children s book written for the adult mind All of the horrors and torments of the regular youth, the fighting parents, the schoolyard bullies, the secrets, the shame, are written in such a way that memories of your own childhood will be conjured up, emotions fresh as if it were yesterday Throughout the story, the main character has insights that are a mix of childhood imagination and innate wisdom, as he goes through the motions of the daily life and all of its consequences It is a lon [...]

  18. This is a beautifully written book but I m going to make a contradictory statement here it is not for me.Jason Taylor is a delightful boy, for most of the time that is, but my attention began to wander after a couple of chapters The book did not fulfil my expectations A quick skim through the book and then that was the end of that.A shame really as it held such promise initially Perhaps I will try and reread it at some later stage in my life.

  19. I ve been trying to find the words to write a proper review but looks like they re avoiding me Maybe I m out of form or it could be that Black Swan Green is a hard one to write about Either way, I m at a loss, so be warned, this is by no means a proper review.The jury has come back in, ladies and gentlemen, and the verdict is clear David Mitchell is brilliant This is the fourth of his novels I ve read so far and I can t help but wonder how the man does it Black Swan Green may not be as majestic [...]

  20. If you show someone something you ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, When you re ready Black Swan Green is David Mitchell s semi autobiographical novel about a thirteen year old boy, Jason Taylor, growing up in Worcestershire England in the 1980s This is a bildungsroman about navigating adolescence, which captures with aplomb how absurd and hypocritical and draining the whole experience is But it s also a novel filled to the brim with hope and humor, t [...]

  21. 1 A novel written from the perspective, or in the voice, of an adolescent boy is nothing new 2 A novel concentrating on the development of character through formative experiences, some of which are representative of the time he or she lives in, is nothing new It is called a Bildungsroman.3 A novel that highlights, or hints at, the fragility of family, or the frailty of marriage, is nothing new.Mitchell trods on these, and other, well beaten paths, striving all the time to deliver us something fr [...]

  22. David Mitchell is well on his way to becoming one of my favourite contemporary writers He has an amazing ability to ventriloquise, to channel characters through his writing Here, in this mash up of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he seems to be channeling his younger self, self conscious British teenage speak warring with the compressed imagery of the developing poet The lake in the woods was epic Tiny bubbles were trapped in the ice like in Fox [...]

  23. There is little narrative drive, but Mitchell is pretty much my age and this is heavily autobiographical, so I enjoyed being transported to a fairly accurate version of a world I remember I could imagine knowing someone like Jason, maybe even being him some of the time The narration by a stuttering 13 year old boy is slightly reminiscent of Mark Haddon s Curious Incident, but not as convincing or interesting It mentions specific 70s brands and products too deliberately as if he s trying to make [...]

  24. This is a beautifully written book about Jason, a funny, resourceful, smart and intelligent thirteen year old, who faces his many problems and challengesa stammer, bullying, parents at war with each other well as all the usual difficulties of being a teenager, with bravery and honesty.I feel that author David Mitchell gives a totally believable insight into how a boy of thirteen is affected by the pressures of growing up, and of trying to fit in and be accepted by his peers, of struggling to und [...]

  25. I can t wait to read by this guy It s clear how Mitchell has such devoted fans The only word of advice I would give to anyone before reading this tremendous coming of age story is to choose not to be bothered about whether a 13 year old boy could, in real life, be such a polished and insightful writer Just enjoy the fact that Mitchell is He s ace, as young Jason might say

  26. What can I say but Mitchell has my soulFOLLOW BLOG Kenyan Library If you show someone something you ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, When you re ready Mitchell does it again Are we really surprised that I ended up really enjoying this one Set in the 1980s this coming of age story follows the life of Jason Taylor a young 13 year old boy from the town of Black Swan Green as he navigates through the tough challenges that life has to offer with his stam [...]

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