Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. For his fourth novel, two-time Kindle Store; ›; Kindle eBooks; ›; Literature & Fiction. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. For his fourth novel, two-time Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Literature & Fiction. Black swan green [electronic resource (EPUB eBook)] / David Mitchell. Saved in: Processing (CPL) - eBooks (EPUB) - Adult Fiction.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Arabic|
|ePub File Size:||21.83 MB|
|PDF File Size:||15.55 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Sign up for free]|
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. The dazzling novel from critically-acclaimed David tvnovellas.infoisted for the Costa Novel AwardLonglisted for the Man Booker Prize. Read "Black Swan Green" by David Mitchell available from Rakuten Kobo. The dazzling novel from critically-acclaimed David Mitchell. Shortlisted for the
Feb 28, s. 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. While this may seem like something we have all read before, Mitchell manages to deliver it through one of his unique, multi-faceted methods and posing this novel as the metafictional chapter of his oeuvre. Some of these forces are negative, yet there are many examples of positive reinforcement in the novel. The family fallout, written with such scathing accuracy to demonstrate a failing marriage and shallow bickering that ensues, is detailed alongside the Falklands conflict, both being summed up beautifully by the sister in her explanation of a Pyrrhic victory during a family dinner.
As much of BSG focuses on the dangers and consequences of people operating with a closed, or selfish mind, Mitchell shows how much of the hardships in our lives could be alleviated if people just took the time to understand each other, to shoulder the burden of taking the right path instead of the easy path that burns a lot of good people in the process.
He shows how those with power, such as the city council, or the nation with the stronger army, or even just the popular kids at school, will always use such power to ensure those beneath them stay there. In Cloud Atlas, the abuse of power is present is a primary theme in each of the novels stories, as well as in Ghostwritten to a lesser extent. Even Number9dream toys with the ideas of power and the struggle for it.
It is as if Mitchell took the events from his own upbringing and inflated the lessons he learned to the larger scope of society and the overall human condition. There are several common complaints about this novel, and each one admittedly valid, yet I felt this novel still accomplished the goals set out for it and not by overlooking these shortcomings, but by trying to further understand them.
Mitchell often preempts his criticisms and addresses them within the novel. Cloud Atlas, in particular, has Mitchell ridiculing critics in general through his slimy Miles Finch character, and addresses those who would see the book as nothing but mere gimmick. While Jason Taylor is fleshed out wonderfully with a whole repitoir of English jargon and juvenile slang, the narrative is often delivered through lush descriptions, complex metaphors and an insight into his situations that come across as overly mature for a boy of To assuage such criticisms, Jason is written to have a precocious sense of literature and poetry.
While it never comes right out and says it, his talents are hinted at being prodigious, or just so enough to reach the attention of Madame Crommelynck who is said to have a sharp eye for extreme talent she did see the genius behind the insanity in Frobisher in CA.
The reader can choose to accept this argument or not, however, Mitchell does not stop there in his attempts at believability. Much of the lush description teeters into the territory of over-writing, something that a young, unfocused writer often clings to.
Once again, the novel does rely on the acceptance of these techniques and this does not satisfy everyone. Then again, I may just be an apologist since I really do appreciate Mitchell hope for his success. View all 19 comments. View all 30 comments. Feb 22, Ian "Marvin" Graye rated it it was amazing Shelves: A Spelling Test I 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 Land The 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 A Spelling Test I kept this book on the shelf for a few years, before thinking I was ready to read it.
Teenage Mates Land The 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 perfectly. It had nearly died by the time of Punk Rock for me, but it had one last inglorious revival when Maggie Thatcher invaded the Falklands, before deflating altogether, so much so that Tony Blair couldn't even revive it. Teenage Wasteland The trouble and the troubles set in in the second half.
Things start to challenge the relative security of Jason's adolescent world view. Girls, gangs, crime, conflict, insecurity, parental estrangement, divorce. Teenage Resolution The problem is that the two halves are juxtaposed, but not sewn together in a narrative that resolves them in any way. It's like a photo album with two photos of the one boy at different ages. In one, he's fresh-faced and enthusiastic, in the next he's pimply and troubled. The reader might know or guess what comes next, but David Mitchell stops short of telling us.
I can't help thinking that, if Jason was important enough to care about, David Mitchell could have finished off the story. View all 10 comments.
Apr 25, Michael rated it really liked it Shelves: The dark side of things in this story are pretty mild. Instead, the overall effect of my read is a sense of adventure and empathy for this boy at the cusp between the handicaps of naivete and confidence of adult sensibilities. We do get the typical challenges of bullies and cliques at school. And the dawning of knowledge that his parents are hiding troubles in their marriage.
The sad truth that his government can lie about the dangers and purposes of the war and that boys he knows can die needlessly there. But the overwhelming challenge for Jason is his stammer. His brave struggle to deal with fears of ridicule and feelings of shame is wonderfully portrayed. How about a lighthouse keeper? Or even dance with one?
We root for him to get past all these hurdles and know that he will. It spills out into secret poetry he submits under a pseudonym for the parish newsletter, and he continually harnesses his poetic ways of looking at the world through metaphors, myths, and hyperbole.
The structure of the book is of thirteen chapters for thirteen months, each of which is like a short story on a theme. In each case, we see him growing up a little more before our eyes. She nails him with: Ursula Le Guin. John Wyndham. Ursular Gun? These are modern poets? Sci-fi, fantasy. Stephen King, too. What of Vietnam, Afganistan, South Africa? Is not enough horror? I mean , who are your masters? England is now drifted to the Caribbean? Are you African? You are European, you illiterate monkey of puberty!
Squeezing through a missing slat in a mossy fence, we found ourselves at the bottom of lumpy lawn. Molehills mounted up here and there. A big, silent mansion with turret things watched us from the top of the slope. A peardrop sun dissolved in a sloped pond. Superheated flies grandprixed over the water.
Trees at the height of their blossom bubbled dark cream by a rotted bandstand. After doing a half Chinese-box, half Russian-doll sort of a novel, I wanted to see if I could write a compelling book about an outwardly unremarkable boy stuck in an outwardly unremarkable time and place without any jiggery-pokery, without fireworks—just old-school.
I refer the curious reader to the same interview to learn how much this novel is autobiographical, and why the interviewer was led to remark: View all 9 comments. View all 7 comments. Jul 14, Panagiotis rated it really liked it.
View 2 comments. Jan 10, Ron rated it really liked it Shelves: What I noticed while reading this book spanning a year in the life of Jason Taylor, our main character and narrator, is how real it felt. Real enough to be biographical. Turns out that it is semi-biographical. One year that strictly followed David Mitchell's actual life at 13? No, probably not. Like most books written of memories plucked out of the past, I believe that much here is fiction, but who could say exactly, excepting Mitchell himself.
I do know that pieces, whole sections even, were so What I noticed while reading this book spanning a year in the life of Jason Taylor, our main character and narrator, is how real it felt. I do know that pieces, whole sections even, were so real they felt like my own, or any person's adolescent life. Not that my childhood experience of was the same as Jason's, but some things sure were. Have not each of us experienced the dreaded hierarchy of school, navigating friendships - or bullies, those moments of adolescent loneliness, followed by a little bit of the wonder that occurs out of nowhere in particular, or the magic of being liked by a girl?
How about family at that age, and realizing that our parents are experiencing some of those same things on a whole other level? Jason does, and more. What I did not notice while reading was that this book is broken into 13 chapters with each chapter representing one month in that year's time. The chapters are slightly disjointed, meaning parts often began or ended abruptly with little connection to one another, and no explanation as to why.
Later, I realized the sense of the month-to-month correspondence. Not that I was bothered by any disparity. I was not. It's just a very good book with a tender narrator, mostly understood in the final pages. That's when I knew that some things do work out in the end, even when you're only 13, and some things do not. There are new paths to be taken, often not by choice. Many things happen when you're thirteen, and it's only a start.
View all 25 comments. Anyone who was a kid in the 's. 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 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.
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 about Cloud Atlas as many others did. This book made me re-evaluate the thoughts I'd had after reading Cloud Atlas although I still wasn't prepared to join in the gush-fest.
I also learned that this book is actually classed by some as YA lit which means that I've accidentally read my first YA novel without even realising.
The epic Jason Taylor maggot, unborn twin and Hangman acts as narrator and humorous and self-depreciating tour guide to the events and landmarks which define a benchmark year in his young life. While the YA narrator, Jason Taylor clearly has more guile and experience than that of an actual teenager he is after all the vehicle of the adult Mitchell, who presumably has the benefit of hindsight, not being a virgin etc he still appears as a credible and likeable narrator.
Part of me is tempted think, well how hard can it be to write about being a child? After all we were all children once, right? However creating a believable and even likeable teen protagonist is probably a lot harder than it seems so I have to give credit as at no point did I scoff at the plausibility of the narrator. In fact, despite myself I even enjoyed my own little trip down a retro memory lane because this book is laden with s pop-culture references. As a child of the 80s myself I will proudly announce that I refused to have dinner until after I'd watched the A-Team and when I grew up I wanted to be Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith, aka George Peppard - at this point I clearly had not grasped core gender differences, but whatever.
So what is the verdict? If you loved Cloud Atlas, you'll like this spot the recurring characters po-mo style and if you hated Cloud Atlas, well you might enjoy this despite yourself. I did. Apr 20, Madeleine rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 more like 'Cloud Atlas' and, like, it totally wasn't.
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 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 more like 'Cloud Atlas' and, like, it totally wasn't.
I picked it up because I bloody love David Mitchell and, yes, "Cloud Atlas," which I do adore so very much, WAS my introduction to his brand of wonderful and the beautiful things he does with language as both a wordsmith and a storyteller.
So when the adolescent narrator mentioned his stammer the first time, my stuttering self needed a second to regroup.
Seeing one of my favorite writers tackle a speech impediment much like the one I've struggled with since first grade? Yeah, it was a combination of a little too much at once and everything I wanted.
And you know what? In less than pages, thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor perfectly described all of the hang-ups and anxieties and fears and Catholic-sized guilt it's been taking me 20 years to figure out. It's intimidating to feel that in sync with a fictional pre-teen. But Jason Taylor is a young lad in early '80s England, so there's a lot going on both around and inside him; thus, his stammer -- our biggest commonality -- was not the central plot from which the story radiates.
This book couldn't win me over solely on my overwhelming empathy for an invented youth -- though it certainly helped. Like the other Mitchell books I've read, BSG is, at its core, a series of intertwining vignettes in this instance, each chapter represents a month in Jason's life for 13 consecutive months ; the most obvious dissimilarity comes from how immediately apparent the connecting thread is.
Instead of multiple narrative voices, Mitchell stuck to one this time -- with much success. Coming-of-age tales can be so damn onerous and so immersed in self-aggrandizing observations that reading them is as unpleasant as actually going through puberty again.
Jason is such a charming, observant and conflicted child that I was taken with him at once. The truths he sprinkles throughout his narration are said with such reverence and awed discovery that it keeps the typically cloying sentiment found in lesser examples of the bildungsroman genre at bay. Aug 04, JSou rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 more than the usual amount of name calling and laughing, wh Why is it that bad memories from adolescence never seem to fade away? I remember one day getting off the bus after school, enduring more than the usual amount of name calling and laughing, when one of the "cool" girls who got off at the same bus stop told me not to listen to them, that they were just stupid jerks.
Hearing that one nice comment gave me such a sense of relief, and made me realize that not everyone was a complete asshole. Thanks Heather Daniels, wherever you are. The point is, reading this book brought a lot of those memories back, but almost in a good way, not where they just make me cringe.
Black Swan Green gives a glimpse into the life of Jason Taylor, a stammering, thirteen year-old growing up in a little village outside Worcestershire in the early eighties.
While Jason goes through the normal trials of trying to fit in with the popular crowd, hiding his stammer as best he can, and tolerating middle-school torture, he witnesses and experiences so much actual life , it's amazing.
Black Swan Green touches on love, death, beauty, war, family, politics, marriage, prejudice, and so much more, all through the eyes of a thirteen year-old boy.
It made this book so much more powerful, knowing that the character himself couldn't even comprehend the magnitude and meaning of all of these life lessons at the time. I love David Mitchell's writing, and though this was different from Cloud Atlas or Ghostwritten , I think he did a great job at this coming-of-age novel. And, as a bonus, this book is full of British slang and expressions, which I will now insert and overuse in my vocabulary until I drive everyone around me crazy and they scream at me to stop.
Not just British slang, eighties British slang. This'll be fun. Jan 01, Aubrey rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 This is a children's book written for the adult mind. It is a long, hard slog, with an end that while not triumphant is indeed a triumph; a child conquering what life throws at him and coming out of it bruised, but not broken.
I extremely resent the fact that this is sometimes called the British Catcher in the Rye. That is one of the severest insults that exist in the literary world. Oct 31, Lynne King rated it liked it Shelves: 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. View all 4 comments. Jan 18, Matthew Quann rated it really liked it Shelves: Instead, it seems like Mitchell decided to tell more straightforward narratives in the wake of his most famous work.
Both Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet share linear narratives, but are otherwise totally different in tone, plot, and writing style.
Black Swan Green follows thirteen year-old Jason Taylor over the course of a year in the early eighties. The cold war brews in the background of this tale set in the fictional town of Black Swan Green, which happens to find itself Worcestershire where Mitchell grew up.
Mitchell seems to be pulling from an well of experience with this one, and it is no secret that the author suffers from a speech disorder. The most effective scenes in the novel are those set amongst family, for which Mitchell has a keen eye. Knowing how these characters appear in more sinister roles in The Bone Clocks makes for an interesting reading experience.
Given the rest of his output, Black Swan Green is both unexpected and familiar in its difference to his other novels. View all 8 comments. 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, told with honesty and vulnerability. I was immediately endeared to thoughtful and sensitive Jason, who hides the fact that he writes poetry from his family and classmates in order to avoid social isolation. Mitchell details the ins and outs of unspoken social norms which govern the male adolescent life with admirable precision: I was instantly transported back to high school and the complex set of social dynamics which at the time felt like life or death, but which looking back on now just seem sort of silly.
The stakes in this book constantly feel high, but not melodramatically so.
There's a self-awareness that permeates the narrative, saying, hey, I know this is ridiculous, but it's also survival. Mitchell's approach to this narrative is fragmentary rather than cohesive, each chapter representing a single episode from each month of the year. Not all of these episodes are centered around Big Life Events, either. Sometimes it's the little things that end up defining us the most, and that's what Mitchell hones in on.
Each chapter reads like a short story, but it all comes together in the end; you gradually realize how and why each of these incidents shaped Jason so profoundly, and how they tie in to the bigger things going on in his life at the time his parents' fragile marriage, the Falklands War and the death of a local boy overseas, the political climate of England under Thatcher's leadership.
There's so much packed into this book, my brain is still reeling from it all. Black Swan Green tackles the fragility of human connections; the difficulty of being true to oneself while also trying to fit in; the futility of war; the hypocrisy of the way some parents interact with their teenaged children; the utter powerlessness that comes with being young; knowing on some level that youth is transient but not really believing it.
Ironically, though this book is told from the point of view of a teenage boy, I think I got more out of it reading it as an adult than I would have reading it when I was that age. That isn't to say that it's inaccessible to teenagers or that younger readers would miss the thematic richness. But I think it helped that I'm removed enough from that period in my life that this story doesn't feel quite as raw to me as it does to Jason.
At any rate, this was an unexpectedly moving book, told on one level with urgency and on another with a nostalgic reflection. The result is original and poignant and I loved it.
And to the person who lent it to me: 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 maje I've been trying to find the words to write a proper review but looks like they're avoiding me. Black Swan Green may not be as majestic and complex as Cloud Atlas or Ghostwritten , but it surely doesn't lack in the inventiveness and depth the author has spoiled us with. To write good books is one thing.
To write good books in so many genres and styles avoiding standards and cliches, I'd say, is quite another. Black Swan Green is basically the chronicle of a year in the life of a thirteen-year-old boy, set in an English village in What makes it brilliant, if you ask me, is the perfect portrayal of being thirteen, when adventures take only a mere stroll in the woods to unravel, and ordinary things become extraordinary when experienced through the prism of that age.
No need for supernatural elements here. The supernatural is a standard ingredient when you're thirteen. The sequence of doors we passed made me think of all the rooms of my past and future. Has it been built yet? So are woods. Mitchell doesn't need a great adventure to serve as a lesson-giving medium. In Black Swan Green , simplicity does the trick.
That said, his well-known witticisms are there as is his unique style with all the word tricks and the, at times, lyrical flow. Many distinct characters whom you could tell apart just by their way of speaking.
Such is Mitchell's talent. Moreover, the chapter solarium , where Vyvyan Ayrs' daughter, Eva rings a bell, Mitchell fans? A great work by a great author. Jul 31, Darwin8u rated it it was amazing Shelves: Reading Mitchell for me is like experiencing J.
Salinger again in high school or Don Delillo or Murakami in college. There are certain books you feel the author has almost hand-feed you emotionally and intellectually.
This might only be objectively a 4. View all 3 comments. May 30, Cecily rated it liked it Shelves: 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 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.
It mentions specific 70s brands and products too deliberately - as if he's trying to make it understandable far in the future, not at all how such a boy would have described things at the time. Overall, disappointing - even if not comparing it with his brilliant "Ghostwritten" and "Cloud Atlas". Lyrebird Hill. Kitty Smuggler's Wife Series: Book 1.
Amber Smuggler's Wife Series: Book 2. Band of Gold Smuggler's Wife Series: Book 3. Last Sacrifice Vampire Academy Series: Book 6. A Selection of Smithereens Penguin Special. Item Added: Black Swan Green. View Wishlist.
Our Awards Booktopia's Charities. Are you sure you would like to remove these items from your wishlist? Remove From Wishlist Cancel.