From highly acclaimed two-time Man Booker finalist David Mitchell comes a glorious, sinewy, meditative novel of boyhood on the cusp of adulthood and the old on the cusp of the new. In his previous novels, David Mitchell dazzled us with his narrative scope and his virtuosic command of multiple voices and stories. The New York Times Book Review said, "Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across [Cloud Atlas's] every page." Black Swan Green inverts the telescopic vision of Cloud Atlas to track a single year in what is, for 13-year-old Jason Taylor, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in a dying Cold War England, 1982. But the 13 chapters create an exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy. Pointed, funny, profound, left field, elegiac, and painted with the stuff of life, Black Swan Green is David Mitchell's subtlest yet most accessible achievement to date.
- Costa Book Awards
- Man Booker Prize for Fiction
(See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Good story, true literature
Posted August 23, 2010 by constant reader , upstate nyExcellent book; well written; engaging stories (each chapter stands as a story in its own right). This book qualifies both as "a good read" and "timeless literature". This is one of the titles that will NOT be deleted from my e-reader when I am finished reading it (second time through).
2 . beautifully written, wonderful read
Posted August 20, 2010 by Mel , Melrose, MassachusettsThis is a great story to savor. I didn't want it to end. I highly recommend this book.
April 01, 2006
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Excerpt from Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
Do not set foot in my office. That's Dad's rule. But the phone'd rung twenty-five
times. Normal people give up after ten or eleven, unless it's a matter of
life or death. Don't they Dad's got an answering machine like James Garner's
in The Rockford Files with big reels of tape. But he's stopped leaving it
switched on recently. Thirty rings, the phone got to. Julia couldn't hear it up
in her converted attic cause 'Don't You Want Me' by Human League was
thumping out dead loud. Forty rings. Mum couldn't hear cause the washing
machine was on berserk cycle and she was hoovering the living room. Fifty
rings. That's just not normal. Supose Dad'd been mangled by a juggernaut on
the M5 and the police only had this office number cause all his other I.D.?d
got incinerated. We could lose our final chance to see our charred father in
the terminal ward.
So I went in, thinking of a bride going into Bluebeard?s chamber after
being told not to. (Bluebeard, mind, was waiting for that to happen.) Dad's office
smells of pound notes, papery but metallic too. The blinds were down so
it felt like evening, not ten in the morning. There's a serious clock on the
wall, exactly the same make as the serious clocks on the walls at school.
There's a photo of Dad shaking hands with Craig Salt when Dad got made regional
sales director for Greenland. (Greenland the supermarket chain, not
Greenland the country.) Dad's IBM computer sits on the steel desk. Thousands
of pounds, IBMs cost. The office phone's red like a nuclear hotline and
it's got buttons you push, not the dial you get on normal phones.
So anyway, I took a deep breath, picked up the receiver, and said our
number. I can say that without stammering, at least. Usually.
But the person on the other end didn't answer.
"Hello I said. Hello?
They breathed in like they'd cut themselves on paper.
Can you hear me? I can't hear you.
Very faint, I recognized the Sesame Street music.
If you can hear me? I remembered a Children's Film Foundation film
where this happened? tap the phone, once.
There was no tap, just more Sesame Street.
You might have the wrong number, I said, wondering.
A baby began wailing and the receiver was slammed down.
When people listen they make a listening noise.
I'd heard it, so they'd heard me.
May as well be hanged for a sheep as hanged for a handkerchief. Miss
Throckmorton taught us that aeons ago. Cause I'd sort of had a reason to
have come into the forbidden chamber, I peered through Dad's razor-sharp
blind, over the glebe, past the cockerel tree, over more fields, up to the
Malvern Hills. Pale morning, icy sky, frosted crusts on the hills, but no sign of
sticking snow, worse luck. Dad's swivelly chair's a lot like the Millennium
Falcon's laser tower. I blasted away at the skyful of Russian MiGs streaming
over the Malverns. Soon tens of thousands of people between here and
Cardiff owed me their lives. The glebe was littered with mangled fusilages
and blackened wings. I'd shoot the Soviet airmen with tranquilizer darts as
they pressed their ejector seats. Our marines'll mop them up. I'd refuse all
medals. Thanks, but no thanks, I'd tell Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan
when Mum invited them in, I was just doing my job.
Dad's got this fab pencil sharpener clamped to his desk. It makes pencils
sharp enough to puncture body armor. H pencils're sharpest, they're Dad's
faves. I prefer 2Bs.