After reading a couple of David Mitchell‘s other books I thought I’d definitely give a go to Black Swan Green. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Cloud Atlas‘ which is a very clever book interweaving half a dozen stories which span a thousand years (or thereabouts) and whilst i wasn’t quite as enamoured with ‘Ghostwritten‘ (which has a similar set up to Cloud Atlas in that it has a number of inter-connected stories) I found it an enjoyable and clever book all the same.
I have given up reading the back cover blurb of books we already have in our collection as it seems pointless so I started Black Swan Green expecting more of the same as his previous books. It came as a small surprise that ‘Black Swan Green’ is a semi-autobiographical account of growing up in the early 80’s in rural England. His description of growing up is probably something that a lot of people can associate with and the main character is Jason Taylor who is a smart but sensitive youngster with a stammering problem who is just becoming a teenager at the time of the Falklands War. This is all set against the backdrop of his parents’ crumbling relationship and his having to deal with the manifold problems that school and life seem to present to you at that age.
Mitchell has a descriptive writing style and deals deftly with re-imagining some of the perils of growing up. I liked this book and will probably be seeking out further work by Mitchell. It’s just a shame that it’s not the same David Mitchell from Peep Show as that would make him a strangely gifted polymath. Oh well…