I received Black Swan Green as a birthday gift from a friend with whom I regularly exchange books. And while he is responsible for the misadventure of All Their Names, he did not let me down in the slightest with the gift of David Mitchell.
I’d given him Adrian Mole to read and so he gave me this book of teenage angst in Thatcherite Britain as a compliment. The comparisons end at the age of protagonist and time period.
Black Swan Green delivers in every possible way: compelling narrator and protagonist, subtle and nuanced symbolism, simple – yet impossibly engaging – plot line, evocative setting.
It was such a relief to read something unquestionably good.
My favourite line in the book?
“Me, I want to bloody kick this moronic bloody world in the bloody teeth over and over till it bloody understands that not hurting people is ten bloody thousand times more bloody important than being right” (118).
Because isn’t that it? And Jason Taylor brings adages of this sort to the reader in ways that are neither cliche nor trite, but that remind the reader of what it might be like to be a better – or to want to grow up to be better.