Cecily's Reviews > Black Swan Green

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
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Jan 04, 15

bookshelves: miscellaneous-fiction

There is little narrative drive, but Mitchell is pretty much my age and this is heavily autobiographical, so I enjoyed being transported to a fairly accurate version of a world I remember. I could imagine knowing someone like Jason, maybe even being him some of the time.

The narration by a stuttering 13 year old boy is slightly reminiscent of Mark Haddon's Curious Incident, but not as convincing or interesting.

It mentions specific 70s brands and products too deliberately - as if he's trying to make it understandable far in the future, not at all how such a boy would have described things at the time. Also, it makes it read rather like Nigel Slater's Toast and Andrew Collins' opposite of misery-lit, Where Did it All go Right? autobiogs, which at least had a more valid reason for so doing - and he does credit the latter.

Overall, disappointing - even if not comparing it with his brilliant "Ghostwritten" and "Cloud Atlas".

Uses his trick of inserting characters from other books:

* Madame Crommelynck is the composer's daughter from Cloud Atlas

* Neal Brose is a an entrepreneurial bully who becomes a major character in Ghostwritten

* Number 9 Dream is a Beatles song that plays at a disco as well as being the title of another Mitchell book Number 9 Dream

* The dodgy older cousin, Hugo Lamb, is a major character in The Bone Clocks
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