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Extended Audio Sample Black Swan Green: A Novel, by David Mitchell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (13,233 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Mitchell Narrator: Kirby Heyborne Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in a dying Cold War England, 1982. But the thirteen chapters, each a short story in its own right, create an exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy. A world of Kissingeresque 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 emigré 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Warmly personal, funny, and as matter-of-fact and grounded as [Mitchell’s] other books are enigmatic and lofty, Black Swan Green has a strong autobiographical flavour…An easy and enjoyable read, Black Swan Green is at its most compelling when the dialogue is fraught with tension…It offers a friendship with its precocious and well-meaning young narrator that persists well beyond the last word.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “Mitchell’s rendering of time and place in this new book has a warm and lived-in feel…What Mitchell has set out to do here—to capture the flux of youth, and to dazzle the reader with everyday, awkward human interaction rather than clever narrative conceits—is risky and rewarding…Tremendously engaging.”

    Toronto Star

  • “Great Britain’s Catcher in the Rye—and another triumph for one of the present age’s most interesting and accomplished novelists.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • This book is so entertainingly strange, so packed with activity, adventures, and diverting banter, that you only realize as the extraordinary novel concludes that the timid boy has grown before your eyes into a capable young man. Entertainment Weekly
  • [David Mitchell has created] one of the most endearing, smart, and funny young narrators ever to rise up from the pages of a novel. . . . The always fresh and brilliant writing will carry readers back to their own childhoods. . . . This enchanting novel makes us remember exactly what it was like. The Boston Globe
  • [David Mitchell is a] prodigiously daring and imaginative young writer. . . . As in the works of Thomas Pynchon and Herman Melville, one feels the roof of the narrative lifted off and oneself in thrall. Time
  • [A] brilliant new novel . . . In Jason, Mitchell creates an evocation yet authentically adolescent voice. The New York Times Book Review
  • Alternately nostalgic, funny and heartbreaking. The Washington Post
  • Great Britain’s Catcher in the Rye—and another triumph for one of the present age’s most interesting and accomplished novelists. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • Winner of 2007 YALSA Alex Award
  • A 2006 Time Magazine Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2006 ALA Notable Book Finalist for Fiction
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction, 2006
  • A 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Fiction
  • Longlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize
  • Winner of Margaret A. Edwards Award (Alex Awards), 2007

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Barry | 2/4/2014

    " not as good as Cloud Atlas but definitely worth a read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Amanda | 1/12/2014

    " After reading Cloud Atlas, Ghostwritten, and now, Black Swan Green, I'm definitely finding myself to be a David Mitchell fan. This story was a very different change of pace from Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten. The book covers the life of a 13 year old boy growing up in the early '80s in a small town. Mitchell captures that gut-wrenching awkardness of being a tween and figuring out who you are. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by James | 1/7/2014

    " A surprisingly grounded, funny and poignant book given the more metaphysical themes that Mitchell's previous work has explored. Anyone who was a schoolboy in the early 80s - and not an alpha male - (like me) will relate to the main character's joy, agony and everything in between. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Nicole | 1/7/2014

    " A master of the English "commoners" language, Mitchell takes you on a journey through the colorful characters of Black Swan Green with his breezy dialogue. Vivid descriptions flourish on every page in Jason's narrative: "I'd expected Ewan to look sort of Prince Edwardish, but he's got exploding red hair, sooty freckles, and a bouncy walk..." And describing Ewan's MG: Suede steering wheel. Oxblood leather, walnut and chrome finishes. Gear stick knob snug in my palm. Sleek lowness, the tilt and hug of the squelky seats. Ghostly glow on the dashboard when Ewan put the key in the ignition. Needles afloat in gauges. Tarry-smelling hood muffling out the wind. Impossible not to want to read every word Mitchell has ever written. "

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