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Publisher's Summary

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 13-year-old Jason Taylor, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in dying Cold War England, 1982. But the 13 chapters, each a short story in its own right, create an exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy. A world of Kissinger-esque 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 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.

©2006 David Mitchell (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Great Britain's Catcher in the Rye, and another triumph for one of the present age's most interesting and accomplished novelists." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Gorgeous....Captures the sheer pleasure of being a boy and brings to mind adventures shared by Huck and Tom." ( Publishers Weekly)
"He reproduces Jason's inner life with such astonishing verisimilitude that readers will find themselves haunted by him long after turning the last page." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Sooo Difficult to Understand

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Not sure.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something more interesting.

How could the performance have been better?

Less slang and better writing.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Depressing.

Any additional comments?

The writing was difficult. The jumping around was hard to keep track of. The English slang was hard to figure out. The story was slow and boring. I particularly disliked how sad and depressing it was to hear how the main character was made fun of and mistreated by everyone around him.

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  • Julie
  • San Jose, CA, United States
  • 07-31-17

A new "favorite" for me

I loved this book, a coming of age novel in rural England that deals in large part with the protagonist's experience with bullying, mostly related to his stutter/stammer. This book contains the magic of Mitchell's language, characterizations, and plot structure minus any paranormal activity, and refers to characters from Cloud Atlas. This one's going on my Favorite's list.

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    5 out of 5 stars

not for audio

story was fine. hard to fully focus on angst of young teenager.

the narrator was terrible.

read the book. DO NOT make my mistake.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

remembering the 80s

coming of age story sprinkled with the ongoing futuristic fantastic tale that Mitchell weaves through all his recent works. Lovely voice of the main character.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a peak inside the mind of a bright but bullied boy

Jason is brilliant but different. a dangerous combination at age 13 but he also stammers. How he deals with the resultant bullying and lifes many roadblocks hints at his future greatness.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

just perfect

Would you listen to Black Swan Green again? Why?

i don't tend to do that

Any additional comments?

Just a great combination of narrator,story and lyrical writing.A joy.

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Favorite David Mitchell so far

Felt more real and optimistic than either Catcher in the Rye or Lord of Flies

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

right story right time

You feel you're Jason
is better then enders game
portrayal of kids

woohoo haiku me think

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    5 out of 5 stars
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very nice

I always like the journey and the interpretation.
That's all about Mitchell for me, the way he writes, and the audio book method makes it even better.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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David Mitchell is always brilliant.

I've read most of Mitchell's other books and was a little hesitant about what seemed like a rather straightforward, linear narrative about one character, especially one who is 13. But of course, Mitchell made it an incredible journey with astonishing authenticity and profound insights into the human condition. Very well performed as well.