Monday, October 09, 2006

Black Swan Green

by David Mitchell
Mitchell, author of such headspinning novels as Cloud Atlas (see below) and Ghostwritten, has, at first glance, stepped off his runaway train to write something more traditional: a semi-autobiographical "first novel." This is a coming-of-age tale of a year in the life of one 13-year-old boy living in a suburb in northwestern England in 1982. That's right, just one boy, one voice, one village, one year. This is still David Mitchell, though, and he shows that a year with Jason Taylor can be just as wonderfully complex and multi-layered as anything else. Jason's voice is unique, something he himself learns to deal with over the course of the book. Identity is a theme familiar to Mitchell fans, as are several other themes here: self-perception, the power of the individual, the strong versus the weak, the unrelenting change inherent in being alive. Beautifully done.

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