Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
A Novel

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Synopsis

By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
 
Selected by Time as One of the Ten Best Books of the Year | A New York Times Notable Book | Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post Book World, The Christian Science Monitor, Rocky Mountain News, and Kirkus Reviews | A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist | Winner of the ALA Alex Award | Finalist for the Costa Novel Award

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 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 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 Green is David Mitchell’s subtlest and most effective achievement to date.

Praise for Black Swan Green
 
“[David Mitchell has created] one of the most endearing, smart, and funny young narrators ever to rise up from the pages of a novel. . . . The always fresh and brilliant writing will carry readers back to their own childhoods. . . . This enchanting novel makes us remember exactly what it was like.”—The Boston Globe
 
“[David Mitchell is a] prodigiously daring and imaginative young writer. . . . As in the works of Thomas Pynchon and Herman Melville, one feels the roof of the narrative lifted off and oneself in thrall.”—Time
 
“[A] brilliant new novel . . . In Jason, Mitchell creates an evocation yet authentically adolescent voice.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Alternately nostalgic, funny and heartbreaking.”—The Washington Post
 
“Great Britain’s Catcher in the Rye—and another triumph for one of the present age’s most interesting and accomplished novelists.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“This book is so entertainingly strange, so packed with activity, adventures, and diverting banter, that you only realize as the extraordinary novel concludes that the timid boy has grown before your eyes into a capable young man.”—Entertainment Weekly


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About David Mitchell

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David Mitchell is the author of the international bestseller The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, named a best book of the year by Time, The Washington Post, Financial Times, The New Yorker, The Globe and Mail, and The New York Times; Black Swan Green, which was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by Time; Cloud Atlas, which was a Man Booker Prize finalist; Number9Dream, which was short-listed for the Man Booker as well as the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; and Ghostwritten, awarded the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for best book by a writer under thirty-five and short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. Hailed as "the novelist who's shown us fiction's future" by The Washington Post, Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.
 
Published April 11, 2006 by Random House. 306 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Black Swan Green

Kirkus Reviews

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There are wonderful scenes of sexual near-discovery and boyish bravado set in the woods near Jason’s home (in the vicinity of the Malvern Hills immortalized in William Langland’s medieval poem “Piers Plowman”), which segue into more individual focus as we observe Jason’s healing encounter with a ...

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The New York Times

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A coming-of-age novel about the ordinary magic of being 13, by the author of "Ghostwritten" and "Cloud Atlas."

Apr 16 2006 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

The New York Times

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A coming-of-age novel about the ordinary magic of being 13, by the author of "Ghostwritten" and "Cloud Atlas."

Apr 16 2006 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

The Guardian

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There is a guitar and a painting in Madame Crommelynck's hallway that are described three times, each successive time in a state of accelerated physical and narrative decrepitude - the woman in the painting is first "bare", then "shivery", then "dying" - as though time has sped up in this literar...

Apr 28 2006 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

The Guardian

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Black Swan Green David Mitchell Sceptre £16.99, pp371 'It is the bliss of childhood,' William Gaddis wrote in his great novel, The Recognitions, 'that we are being warped most when we know it the least.' Novels written from the child's point of view are never written by children;

Apr 16 2006 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

Book Reporter

thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor --- each one of the thirteen.

Dec 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

The brilliant, compulsively playful British author David Mitchell has .

Apr 12 2006 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

By jessicaWed, 08/29/2007 - 17:41.

Aug 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

Mail Online

In his new novel, Mitchell abandons these.

Apr 27 2007 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

New York Magazine

Jason Taylor—like Mitchell in his youth—is a geeky 13-year-old poet living in a yuppifying subdivision in Black Swan Green, a Worcestershire village.

Apr 09 2006 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

Spectator Book Club

Reading David Mitchell’s fourth novel, which is told through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy, reminded me why girls have little or no interest in the contents of boys’ heads until they are well out of their teens.

May 13 2006 | Read Full Review of Black Swan Green: A Novel

Reader Rating for Black Swan Green
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