Review: David Mitchell’s “Black Swan Green”

by writereaderly

I grabbed this one because I’d read Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, and found it an impressive stylistic achievement (although I found his message naff and overplayed). Anyway, it was good enough to make me get this one off the Housesat Bookshelf, and despite a sloooow start, it was worthwhile. Thirteen months in the life a 13 y.o. writer-boy, who seems to be 13 the way that Jonathan Safran Foer’s hero in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was 9, or Juno was 16 in her movie. (It’s considerably more elegant than Foer’s novel, btw, but I wasn’t quite as impressed). Solid rendition of Britain in 1982, all chronistic details in tact – eg., Falklands/Malvinas war; e.g., VHS vs Betamax; e.g., who’s allowed to dance to Madness songs; e.g., mean legal attacks on gypsies who are good deep down. An increasingly absorbing read, plot threads sneaked up on me (but not entirely convincingly), and Mitchell is clearly a master of voice. It was a good read and I’ll read more of his.

Where it came from: KT’s Housesat Bookshelf
Time taken to read: About four doses of bed-nights
Where it went to: Back to shelf
Reminds me of: Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”; Adrian Mole’s diaries
Who I’d recommend it to: No one particular, but it is good.
Also reading: “The Heart of the Matter” by Graham Greene; “The Blind Eye” by Georgia Blain; “Cold Comfort Farm” by Stella Gibbons; “Gertrude” by Hermann Hesse; “Trash” by Dorothy Allison; “The Mountain” by Kate Llewellyn