Black Swan Green is a year in the life of thirteen year old stammering Jason Taylor in the small town of Black Swan Green. David Mitchell assumes his voice with amazing deftness and skill.
What he does really well is immerse the reader in Jason's world. The narration, the voice is spot on. The characters are brought to life. The setting of Black Swan Green is brilliant. Two characters from Cloud Atlas make an appearance and all of it leads to a surprisingly cohesive whole that is much greater than the sum of his parts. A lot of novels with kids as protagonists are written but this is by far the best I have read. Its loads better than what they call Young Adult fiction and indeed I would rate it above A Catcher in the Rye.
Its not a novel light on subject matter, gypsies come into the picture at one stage and the unrest they cause in Black Swan Green is vividly rendered. Weighty matters are dealt with, without even once losing the narrator's voice.
Looking back at his other novels this is probably his simplest one in terms of structure and plot with no interleaving strands or overarching themes but that does not diminish Black Swan Green. This is easily his most heartfelt novel and he manages to lend a touch of magic even to the most mundane of activities.
This is a great addition to David Mitchell's ouvre and he really is a fine writer with a gift for storytelling and turning out sentences that stick with you long after the book is closed.
You can buy Black Swan Green here.