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Black Swan Green

A Novel
Mitchell, David (Book - 2006 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Black Swan Green
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Random House, Inc.
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 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.

Baker & Taylor
A meditative novel of a young boy on the cusp of adulthood follows a single year in the life of thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor as he grows up in what is for him the sleepiest village in Worcestershire, England, in 1982.

Blackwell North Amer
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 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 emigre who is both more and less than she appears; of Jason's search to replace his dead grandfather's irreplaceable watch before his parents discover he has smashed it; 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.

Baker
& Taylor

A meditative novel of a young boy on the cusp of adulthood follows a single year in the life of thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor as he grows up in what is for him the sleepiest village in Worcestershire, England, in 1982. By the aauthor of Cloud Atlas. 50,000 first printing.

Authors: Mitchell, David (David Stephen)
Title: Black swan green
a novel
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2006
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
Characteristics: 294 p. ; 25 cm
Notes: Originally published: Great Britain : Hodder & Stoughton, c2006
Alternate Title: Blackswangreen
ISBN: 9781400063796
1400063795
Statement of Responsibility: David Mitchell
Subject Headings: Villages Fiction England Fiction Boys Fiction
Genre/Form: Bildungsromans
Topical Term: Villages
Boys
LCCN: 2005052914
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Jun 17, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

In 13 connected stories Jason Taylor describes his perilous trek through schoolyard trials, his budding interest in girls and the simmering tension between his parents. Straddling the wonders of childhood and the anxieties of adulthood, he speaks to us in a voice that mingles insight and naivete—not too cute, not too slick. The result is a novel that’s alternately nostalgic, funny and heartbreaking.

May 12, 2013
  • tomcrisp rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

BLACK SWAN GREEN is a town in Worcestershire England, the year is 1982, the voice is that of a 13-yr old poet/stammerer who quickly enlists the reader's attention. This is grown-up fiction I'd recommend also to mature young readers. The artful, nicely-paced writing always stays believable and is by turns poignant, funny, intelligent and dramatic. The often cruel world of middle school fits into a larger world here. The important role - both positive and painfully otherwise - of peripheral adult characters helps move this story to its effective, surprising and, again, believable end.

Feb 24, 2013
  • lisahiggs rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The same evening I talked to my husband about how I was enjoying Black Swan Green while I was reading it but I wasn’t feeling compelled to keep picking it up, I got into bed a half hour early to read a chapter or two, and put down the finished book at 4 AM. It very slowly gets better and better and unfolds so gorgeously. The dialogue took me a few chapters to appreciate, but it is brilliantly British, teenage, and 80s.

It's like a young adult novel for adults. The one small thing that takes away from the serious beauty of this year in the life of an unpopular teenager is how perfectly his life turns around at the end. Where’s the story about the kid who spends every recess in the bathroom so as not be seen on the playground alone growing up depressed for the next 20 years?

But if this is how David Mitchell writes, I am definitely going to try Cloud Atlas.

Truly an excellant novel, first class in every way!

Apr 18, 2011
  • SMCK01 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very different from Mitchell's other books. At first I expected a conventional coming-of-age story, but this book is so much more than that. Deceptively simple in the telling, it gains complexity through subtle characterizations and beautifully detailed descriptions.

Apr 18, 2011
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Looking at life through the eyes of a thirteen year old boy, Black Swan Green tells the story of a year in the life of Jason Taylor who lives in a small village in Worcestershire during the early 1980’s. Thirteen is a difficult year for most young people and Jason is no exception. His main activities are ‘trying to fit in” and hiding his stammer by planning his sentences in advance.

Each chapter of this book tells us a separate story in the life of Jason. From his first cigarette to his first kiss, his adolescent pain at seeing his parents marriage crumble over the course of the year, his interest in the Falklands War, to dealing with bullying. It’s a very realistic look at being thirteen.

The authors’ deft handling of the story elevated this book far above a simple coming of age story. Each chapter has a flavor of its own which gives the reader much to relish. His characters are well drawn, complete people and he avoids getting overly sentimental. For me, Black Swan Green captures the highs and lows of that time in life just before you understand what it’s all about. I found it absorbing and charming.

started....didn't like it much....quite after 10 pages......too rambling

Nov 19, 2007
  • gailygirl rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I didn't think I was going to like reading this "yet-another-coming-of-age" novels about a boy in England. But partway through I discovered that the author was managing to subtly sneak in some very profound material here! At times I wondered if we were to take seriously some of the main character's observations - they just seemed too mature. But then .... I suddenly thought back and realized that many "childish" observations are the most profound ones we've ever had - unencumbered by later experience. A truly magical read - bravo Mr. Mitchell.

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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/20 15:40