I'm a sucker for growing-up novels. This is just as delicious as "Holes" by Louis Sachar. BSG, however, is perhaps even more gripping with its social realistic setting.
I want to give this book 5 stars. Another tour de force from David Mitchell, my favourite writer.
Black Swan Green is a journal-like narrative of Jason Taylor, a stammering 13-year old boy from Black Swan Green, a village in Worcestershire, the UK (at one point in the novel, Jason explained the difference between "stutter" and "stammer", which is hilarious". Charting 13 months from January 1982, the book is a nostalgic memoir of a middle-class boy in the Margaret Thatcher's era.
Maybe because I also grew up in the 1980s, the story brought me many wonderful memories of the era, e.g. songs from Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran, the movies Superman II and Chariots of Fire, recording songs on TDK cassettes, recording TV shows on VHS/Beta etc. The descriptions of the Falkland Wars and the recession are also superb.
I cannot believe Mitchell has written this when he is close to 40. The narrative really sounds like it came from a 13-year old boy. Mitchell has really put himself into the mind of a kid. He thinks and speaks like a boy, and that's marvellous. It's also very easy to read (I finished it on my flight back from New York).
Extremely funny and enjoyable. Love it....Continua
I love growing-up books, especially those where you can tell the kids within are not going to emerge into the adult world all shiny and happy - no, they won't even settle for normal . I've read too many to list, but so far the notable ones include Salinger's classic Catcher In The Rye, Toby Litt's deadkidsongs, Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory and Patrick McCabe's The Butcher Boy.
I'm now officially adding Black Swan Green into this prestigious list. If, these imaginary inventories of mine generated and gave out equally hypothetical awards, of course....Continua
Semi-autobiography of David Mitchell. Nicely plotted, beautifully written (though many of his fans and critics do think he toned down a little bit too much in this book). But I guess this style suits this book the best? It's about the 13 months a 13 years old boy had been through. I am glad that he did not turn the book into soap opera or self-help kind of thing. Parents get divorced? Well that's life. A bit messy at the first glance, yet life actually is a quilt, we knit different pieces of fabric into one. So as life. Every part of life seems to be departed from each other yet they are all parts of us. Conflicting whole.
It's a very good book. At least to me, when it comes to youth or growing up, this book is better than "Kafka on the shore" by Haruka Murakami....Continua