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Extended Audio Sample Black Swan Green: A Novel Audiobook, by David Mitchell Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.9997733111682 out of 52.9997733111682 out of 52.9997733111682 out of 52.9997733111682 out of 52.9997733111682 out of 5 3.00 (13,234 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: April 2006 ISBN: 9780739332498
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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

  • [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)
  • 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
  • “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)

  • 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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Traci | 12/29/2013

    " Not sure what I missed compared to the large majority of other readers but I did not enjoy this book. While this is not the worst book I've read, thus the 2 stars instead of one, it was...well, best word...YAWN. Boring "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Greg Bester | 12/6/2013

    " Wonderful coming of age novel. Mitchell is one of my favorite authors. I love the way he, like Larry McMurtry has recurring characters from book to book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria | 10/3/2013

    " Another wonderful read from Mitchell, and loved the popping up of a character from another book. The misery of parental relationships and growing up are perfectly encapsulated. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mervyn Kelso | 9/30/2013

    " Very good as always from DM "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 julie | 9/29/2013

    " A year in the life of an English boy. A good coming of age. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 9/17/2013

    " I have a feeling that in retrospect I'll like this book more and more, but in the short term: the voice of the narrator rang largely true, as did the descriptions of junior high social structure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thorn MotherIssues | 8/13/2012

    " I know I'm always all about voice, but wow was this just Right. I loved it. Watching a boy turn 13 and learn about himself and his family and town during the Falklands War was fascinating. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Miranda | 2/23/2012

    " Sadly, abandoned as well. I'm just not having a good run and have decided I should stay clear of Man Brooker nominees as they are just too complex for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Candace | 10/28/2011

    " The best book I've read in a long time. Some of his sentences stopped me in my tracks, and I had to read them over and over in awe of how a simple 8 or 9 words could say so much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beckydham | 6/11/2011

    " David Mitchell is my new favorite. I get such pleasure from reading his books. There's no other way to describe it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam | 6/9/2011

    " Self-conscious, show-offy. Also flat-out brilliant. Loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tia | 6/6/2011

    " This is no Cloud Atlas (although Eva Crommelynck makes an appearance!) but this is still an enjoyable read covering the angst of early teenage years. Mitchell really has a love, and mastery, of words which makes his books so fun to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joyce | 5/18/2011

    " This is part coming of age, part relationship book. Mitchell is a wonderful writer. "

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About the Author
Author David Mitchell

David Mitchell is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, named a best book of the year by Time, Washington Post, Financial Times, New Yorker, Globe and Mail, and the New York Times. He has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize five times and hailed as “the novelist who’s shown us fiction’s future” (Washington Post), as well as named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

About the Narrator

Kirby Heyborne is a musician, actor, and professional narrator. Noted for his work in teen and juvenile audio, he has garnered twenty-two Earphones Awards. His audiobook credits include Jesse Kellerman’s The Genius, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, and George R. R. Martin’s Selections from Dreamsongs.