David Mitchell comes home - to England, 1982, and the cusp of adolescence. Jason Taylor is 13, doomed to be growing up in the most boring family in the deadest village ("Black Swan Green") in the dullest county (Worcestershire) in the most tedious nation (England) on earth. And he stammers. 13 chapters, each as self-contained as a short story, ...
David Mitchell comes home - to England, 1982, and the cusp of adolescence. Jason Taylor is 13, doomed to be growing up in the most boring family in the deadest village ("Black Swan Green") in the dullest county (Worcestershire) in the most tedious nation (England) on earth. And he stammers. 13 chapters, each as self-contained as a short story, follow 13 months in his life as he negotiates the pitfalls of school and home and contends with bullies, girls and family politics. In the distance, the Falklands conflict breaks out; close at hand, the village mobilises against a gypsy camp. And through Jason's eyes, we see what he doesn't know he knows - and watch unfold what will make him wish his life had been as uneventful as he had believed. Vividly capturing the mood of the times - high unemployment, Cold War politics and the sunset of agrarian England - this is at once a portrait of an era and of an age: the black hole between childhood and teenagerdom.
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Superbly written, wonderfully understood, Black Swan Green opens for an international audience the trials and tribulations of a boy between his 13th and 14th year. He, along with his family members, straddles this year, each of them changed by their having lived through it.
Apr 3, 2007
Pensive, brooding, hopeful
Broodingly and sympathetically written without losing its sense of humour. Throughout the book you could not help but wait for Jason to realise his own, and when he does, you fight the urge to shout 'Huzzah' . Should become required reading in all classrooms. It gives a good, long look at oneself. Not only a coming of age for boys but certainly for any gender, at any age.
Apr 3, 2007
An indulgence a very English eighties
This is strictly for an English audience or someone wishing to know about and english childhood in the eighties. Mitchell takes us back to simpler times of Rubiks cubes and street fights (possibly based on his own life) and takes us through the traumas of a stuttering child. Everyone can associate with the alienation Mitchell describes very well. It is, however , a purely indulgent book rather like reading someones personal diary.
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