Black Swan Green
|Black Swan Green|
UK First edition cover
|Genre||Semi-autobiographical, Bildungsroman novel|
|Publication date||April 2006|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|Pages||294 pp (first edition, paperback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 1-4000-6379-5 (first edition, paperback)|
|Dewey Decimal||823/.92 22|
|LC Classification||PR6063.I785 B58 2006|
|Preceded by||Cloud Atlas|
|Followed by||The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet|
Black Swan Green is a semi-autobiographical bildungsroman written by David Mitchell. It was published in April 2006 in the U.S. and May 2006 in the UK. The novel's thirteen chapters each represent one month—from January 1982 through January 1983—in the life of 13-year-old Worcestershire boy Jason Taylor. The novel is written from the perspective of Taylor and employs many teen colloquialisms and popular-culture references from early-1980s England.
Mitchell has the speech disorder of stammering, "I’d probably still be avoiding the subject today had I not outed myself by writing a semi-autobiographical novel, Black Swan Green, narrated by a stammering 13 year old."
In 2007 the book received recognition as a Best Book for Young Adults (Alex Awards) from the American Library Association. It was shortlisted for the 2006 Costa Book Awards, longlisted for the 2006 Booker Prize and was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. It was a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Time Magazine's Best Books of the Year, American Library Association Notable Books for Adults. It was shortlisted for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award.
Allusions/references to other works
The book contains references and characters from other works by Mitchell, as is characteristic of his novels:
- Neal Brose, a pupil at the same school as Taylor, appears as an adult in Ghostwritten.
- Eva van Crommelynck, who tutors Taylor on poetry and life, also appears in Cloud Atlas, as do references to her father, Vyvyan Ayrs, her mother, and Robert Frobisher, composer of the rare and beautiful sextet that Jason listens to while visiting her.
- Gwendolyn Bendincks, the vicar's wife at the end of "Solarium," also appears in Cloud Atlas. She is one of two residents who head the Residents' Committee at Aurora House (the home to which Denholme Cavendish sends his brother Timothy).
- Mark Badbury, a pupil at the same school as Taylor, also appears as an adult in the short story 'Preface' published in the [UK] Daily Telegraph on 29.04.06.
- Another pupil, Clive Pike (as an adult) and school headmaster Mr. Nixon (both corporeally and disembodied) appear in the short story 'Acknowledgments' published in Prospect, No. 115, Oct. 2005
- School headmaster Mr. Nixon (his first name is revealed as Graham) appears in the short story 'Denouement' published in The Guardian Review section, 26.05.07, in support of the author's appearance at the Hay Festival that day.
- Nicholas Briar, a pupil at the same school as Taylor, also appears as an adult in the short story 'The Massive Rat' published in The Guardian "Weekend" supplement on 01.08.09.
- The Castles, next-door neighbors to the Taylors, also appear as the titular character's parents in the short story 'Judith Castle', published in The Book of Other People on 01.02.08.
- The John Lennon song "number nine dream", which is also the title of Mitchell's second novel, is played during the school dance.
- "Lost for words", David Mitchell, Prospect magazine, 23 February 2011, Issue #180
- American Library Association (2007). "2007 Best Books for Young Adults". Retrieved 2011-02-03.
- Mitchell, David (2007-05-26). "Dénouement". The Guardian (London).
- "David Mitchell: The Massive Rat". The Guardian (London). 2009-08-01.
- "The Book of Other People". The New York Times. 2008-01-08.
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (May 2012)|
- Review of Black Swan Green: The Times (London)
- Review of Black Swan Green: The New Yorker
- Review of Black Swan Green: The New York Times
- Review of Black Swan Green: The Observer
- Review of Black Swan Green: Kirkus Reviews
- Review of Black Swan Green: www.thebookseller.com
- Analysis and Review of Black Swan Green on Lit React