Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
The same evening I talked to my husband about how I was enjoying Black Swan Green while I was reading it but I wasn’t feeling compelled to keep picking it up, I got into bed a half hour early to read a chapter or two, and put down the finished book at 4 AM. It very slowly gets better and better and unfolds so gorgeously. The dialogue took me a few chapters to appreciate, but it is brilliantly British, teenage, and 80s.
It’s like a young adult novel for adults. The one small thing that takes away from the serious beauty of this year in the life of an unpopular teenager is how perfectly his life turns around at the end. Where’s the story about the kid who spends every recess in the bathroom so as not be seen on the playground alone growing up depressed for the next 20 years?
But if this is how David Mitchell writes, I am definitely going to try Cloud Atlas.
A year in the life of thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor, who lives in what is, to him, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in a dying Cold War England, 1982. A world of Kissingeresque realpolitik enacted in boys’ games, of “nightcreeping” through the 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, Russ Wilcox; of a divorce in slow motion; of first cigarettes, first kisses, and first Duran Duran LPs.