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Black Swan Green: A Novel by David Mitchell
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Black Swan Green: A Novel (original 2006; edition 2007)

by David Mitchell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,7551991,610 (3.99)418
A novel of boyhood on the cusp of adulthood and the old on the cusp of the new, tracking a single year of 13-year-old Jason Taylor's life in Worcestershire in a dying Cold War England, 1982.
Member:sycoraxpine
Title:Black Swan Green: A Novel
Authors:David Mitchell
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2007), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:la home, already read, read in 2007

Work details

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (2006)

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» See also 418 mentions

English (190)  Dutch (4)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (199)
Showing 1-5 of 190 (next | show all)
I can only call this an immature work. I have read and enjoyed most of David Mitchell's other books but this one did not impress. I kept reading it thinking something was going to happen ; some point to the story. I nearly gave up half way through until suddenly an ageing Belgian bohemian appeared in the story and I thought things were going to take a turn for the better. Alas no; the character disappeared after one chapter and the story plodded on and to be honest remained boring to the end. Maybe mildly interesting if you are a 14 year old boy. ( )
  kazzer2u | Jun 22, 2020 |
While I knew this was a semi-autobiographical novel about a 13-year old boy in the 80ies, and not really speculative fiction, I still expected something more. 'The Bone Clocks' blew me away - and not because of its speculative elements, but just because Mitchell wrote such a great, human book - judged by all kinds of parameters.

'Black Swan Green' is a bit too one-dimensional for me: one year in a boy's life, trapped with his stammer, in the disolving marriage of his parents, in the social world that is other kids in a small town. Been there, done that - so to say. It didn't surprise me, it didn't engage me and I didn't learn anything, so I decided to jump ship at 50%. I cannot fault David Mitchell - the language is great, there are some excellent scenes, and the protagonist's voice is convincing, but this was not the book for me: I'm simply not into the subject matter, I found out while reading.

If you do like books about teenagers: there's a significant chance you'll like this, a lot even.

More reviews on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It ( )
  bormgans | May 13, 2020 |
Black Swan Green is a very enjoyable story of a year in the life of Jason Taylor, a young teenager trying to make sense of life in a village in Worcestershire in 1982. The story is made up of several vignettes that fit loosely together to tell Jason's story, which is one of trying to fit in, bullying, trouble at home and overcoming a speech impediment.

Mitchell really gets into the nitty gritty of secondary school life, a lot of which was quite painful to read (I would never in a million years go back to my school days!). But he imbues the story with so much warmth and humour that it's not a completely depressing read.

This did take me longer than usual to read, but that's more because I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on much in the current pandemic, rather than because of any defects in the book. Much recommended, especially if you've read Mitchell's other works and like playing 'spot the character from [insert book title]'. ( )
  mooingzelda | Apr 15, 2020 |
A complete departure from Mitchell's usual multifaceted attack. This book is glaring proof that his fiction's solidity isn't the result of a puzzle-piece pile of style and wit that dizzies rather than tells (as some have claimed), but the fact that each individual piece of his puzzle is cut, measured, and perfectly colored while somehow remaining absolutely human. ( )
  Adammmmm | Sep 10, 2019 |
Unlike the other two books of David Mitchell's that I've read (The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas), Black Swan Green isn't Science Fiction which was a oddly pleasant surprise once I'd read to the end of the book.

Mitchell's Science Fiction is good and not in the Hard Sci-Fi way but by being a background signal upon which the reader's awareness, transported, arrives at phenomenological destinations both familiar and new concerning the gamut of human experience. Eloquently written, to boot.

Black Swan Green succeeds in transporting the reader, without any Science Fiction, to a feeling-place in one's personal history (that time being: growing up in your early teen years, as a boy) that is difficult for me to remember with clear imagery but for which I have very clear sense-impressions and feeling-based memory. The eloquent writing and skillful imagery provided a solid anchor holds for my own sense-impressions and feeling-memories to take hold.

I particularly enjoyed the personal evolution of the young boy transmuting the diffident, internally repressed boy into a young man defining his individuality through the struggle of casting off the projector screen victims are for abusive people's psyches.

Definitely worth reading. ( )
  pspringmeyer | Aug 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 190 (next | show all)
Fleshing out such elementary wisdom is what coming-of-age novels are about. No doubt, that label will make some grimace and others wax nostalgic, but this novel is OK with caressing its traditional parameters. It settles for the sparks of verisimilitude instead of the fireworks of reinvention, while transmitting the uncomfortably comfortable sensation of smacking into the participants in one’s young life.
 
Mitchell is so good at inhabiting other voices that halfway through his ambitious "Cloud Atlas" (2004) — the characters include a 19th-century traveler in the Chatham Islands and a genetically engineered slave in a futuristic Korean dystopia — I began to suspect that Mitchell himself might actually be a noncorpum, a spirit who has commandeered the body of a young Englishman to type out its books.

Anxious, perhaps, about being mistaken for a supernatural being, Mitchell set himself a different sort of challenge in his brilliant new novel, "Black Swan Green." The book, set almost exclusively in a village of that name in quiet, provincial Worcestershire, follows 13-year-old Jason Taylor through 13 months, each folded into a storylike chapter.

. . . In Jason, Mitchell creates an evocative yet authentically adolescent voice, an achievement even more impressive than the ventriloquism of his earlier books.
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mitchell, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heyborne, KirbyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smet, Arthur deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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