Black Swan Green by David Mitchell


Amy Smith
Vice President for Institutional Advancement

I have been in the same book club for more than twenty years and we have read some amazing books. This last year was especially noteworthy and it’s hard to choose one book to highlight.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Room by Emma Donoghue.
The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Lost Illusions by Balzac
Inspector Saito’s Small Satori by Janwillem Van de Wetering
The Talented Miss Highsmith by Joan Schenkar
Loving by Henry Green
A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert
A Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth

For the sake of 365 Days of the Book, I am going to choose Black Swan Green by David Mitchell as it was such an astonishing surprise for me. Mitchell, who has twice been a finalist for the Booker Prize, has written an incredibly moving and believable portrait of a thirteen year old boy growing up in Worcestershire in 1982, and who is afflicted with a stammer, unhappy parents, and a snarky older sister. The structure is episodic – 13 months of his life – in this coming of age story. The thirteen year old narrator is keenly aware but appropriately so for his age which makes the story – and writing – feel true and honest. His insights are both comic and heartbreaking and the writing is simple and gorgeous.
__________
Teenagers, stuttering and Black Swan Green. The Veils of Stuttering
Black swans. Wikipedia
“What can’t the novelist David Mitchell do?” James Wood, The New Yorker

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