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Black Swan Green

Unabridged Audio Book

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Kirby Heyborne

13 Hours 0 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

April 2006

Audio Book Summary

By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Selected by Time as One of the Ten Best Books of the Year | A New York Times Notable Book | Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post Book World, The Christian Science Monitor, Rocky Mountain News, and Kirkus Reviews | A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist | Winner of the ALA Alex Award | Finalist for the Costa Novel Award

From award-winning writer David Mitchell comes a sinewy, meditative novel of boyhood on the cusp of adulthood and the old on the cusp of the new.

Black Swan Green tracks a single year in what is, for thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in a dying Cold War England, 1982. But the thirteen chapters, each a short story in its own right, create an exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy. A world of Kissingeresque realpolitik enacted in boys’ games on a frozen lake; of “nightcreeping” through the summer 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, Ross Wilcox; of a certain Madame Eva van Outryve de Crommelynck, an elderly bohemian emigré who is both more and less than she appears; of Jason’s search to replace his dead grandfather’s irreplaceable smashed watch before the crime is discovered; of first cigarettes, first kisses, first Duran Duran LPs, and first deaths; of Margaret Thatcher’s recession; of Gypsies camping in the woods and the hysteria they inspire; and, even closer to home, of a slow-motion divorce in four seasons.

Pointed, funny, profound, left-field, elegiac, and painted with the stuff of life, Black Swan Green is David Mitchell’s subtlest and most effective achievement to date.

Praise for Black Swan Green

“[David Mitchell has created] one of the most endearing, smart, and funny young narrators ever to rise up from the pages of a novel. . . . The always fresh and brilliant writing will carry readers back to their own childhoods. . . . This enchanting novel makes us remember exactly what it was like.”—The Boston Globe

“[David Mitchell is a] prodigiously daring and imaginative young writer. . . . As in the works of Thomas Pynchon and Herman Melville, one feels the roof of the narrative lifted off and oneself in thrall.”—Time

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Reviews

  • Dave E.

    This book is wonderful! But the narration sounds like an American struggling to speak with an English accent. It was jarring how mis-pronounced common English place names and words were.

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  • Benjamin M.

    Great book. I wish they had gotten someone with a natural British accent. He was fine but the voice sounded incorrect to me.

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  • Anonymous

    This is one of the best books I have heard, or read, in a long time. Perhaps I am biased, because I was in Europe during the time the story takes place and am approximately the age of the main character's older sister. However, I found the references to music and other 1980s things to be absolutely accurate and the story about the main charater to be compelling and timeless.... at least for our time.

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