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Black Swan Green (Anglais) Relié – 11 avril 2006

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not set foot in my office. That’s Dad’s rule. But the phone’d rung twenty-five
times. Normal people give up after ten or eleven, unless it’s a matter of
life or death. Don’t they? Dad’s got an answering machine like James Garner’s
in The Rockford Files with big reels of tape. But he’s stopped leaving it
switched on recently. Thirty rings, the phone got to. Julia couldn’t hear it up
in her converted attic ’cause “Don’t You Want Me?” by Human League was
thumping out dead loud. Forty rings. Mum couldn’t hear ’cause the washing
machine was on berserk cycle and she was hoovering the living room. Fifty
rings. That’s just not normal. S’pose Dad’d been mangled by a juggernaut on
the M5 and the police only had this office number ’cause all his other I.D.’d
got incinerated? We could lose our final chance to see our charred father in
the terminal ward.
So I went in, thinking of a bride going into Bluebeard’s chamber after
being told not to. (Bluebeard, mind, was waiting for that to happen.) Dad’s office
smells of pound notes, papery but metallic too. The blinds were down so
it felt like evening, not ten in the morning. There’s a serious clock on the
wall, exactly the same make as the serious clocks on the walls at school.
There’s a photo of Dad shaking hands with Craig Salt when Dad got made regional
sales director for Greenland. (Greenland the supermarket chain, not
Greenland the country.) Dad’s IBM computer sits on the steel desk. Thousands
of pounds, IBMs cost. The office phone’s red like a nuclear hotline and
it’s got buttons you push, not the dial you get on normal phones.
So anyway, I took a deep breath, picked up the receiver, and said our
number. I can say that without stammering, at least. Usually.
But the person on the other end didn’t answer.
"Hello?” I said. “Hello?”
They breathed in like they’d cut themselves on paper.
“Can you hear me? I can’t hear you.”
Very faint, I recognized the Sesame Street music.
“If you can hear me”—I remembered a Children’s Film Foundation film
where this happened—“tap the phone, once.”
There was no tap, just more Sesame Street.
“You might have the wrong number,” I said, wondering.
A baby began wailing and the receiver was slammed down.
When people listen they make a listening noise.
I’d heard it, so they’d heard me.

“May as well be hanged for a sheep as hanged for a handkerchief.” Miss
Throckmorton taught us that aeons ago. ’Cause I’d sort of had a reason to
have come into the forbidden chamber, I peered through Dad’s razor-sharp
blind, over the glebe, past the cockerel tree, over more fields, up to the
Malvern Hills. Pale morning, icy sky, frosted crusts on the hills, but no sign of
sticking snow, worse luck. Dad’s swivelly chair’s a lot like the Millennium
Falcon’s laser tower. I blasted away at the skyful of Russian MiGs streaming
over the Malverns. Soon tens of thousands of people between here and
Cardiff owed me their lives. The glebe was littered with mangled fusilages
and blackened wings. I’d shoot the Soviet airmen with tranquilizer darts as
they pressed their ejector seats. Our marines’ll mop them up. I’d refuse all
medals. “Thanks, but no thanks,” I’d tell Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan
when Mum invited them in, “I was just doing my job.”
Dad’s got this fab pencil sharpener clamped to his desk. It makes pencils
sharp enough to puncture body armor. H pencils’re sharpest, they’re Dad’s
faves. I prefer 2Bs.
The doorbell went. I put the blind back to how it was, checked I’d left no
other traces of my incursion, slipped out, and flew downstairs to see who it
was. The last six steps I took in one death-defying bound.
Moron, grinny-zitty as ever. His bumfluff’s getting thicker, mind. “You’ll
never guess what!”
“You know the lake in the woods?”
“What about it?”
“It’s only”—Moron checked that we weren’t being overheard—“gone and
froze solid! Half the kids in the village’re there, right now. Ace doss or what?”
“Jason!” Mum appeared from the kitchen. “You’re letting the cold in!
Either invite Dean inside—hello Dean—or shut the door.”
“Um . . . just going out for a bit, Mum.”
Um . . . where?”
“Just for some healthy fresh air.”
That was a strategic mistake. “What are you up to?”
I wanted to say “Nothing” but Hangman decided not to let me. “Why
would I be up to anything?” I avoided her stare as I put on my navy duffel
“What’s your new black parka done to offend you, may I ask?”
I still couldn’t say “Nothing.” (Truth is, black means you fancy yourself as
a hard-knock. Adults can’t be expected to understand.) “My duffel’s a bit
warmer, that’s all. It’s parky out.”
“Lunch is one o’clock sharp.” Mum went back to changing the Hoover
bag. “Dad’s coming home to eat. Put on a woolly hat or your head’ll freeze.”
Woolly hats’re gay but I could stuff it in my pocket later.
“Good-bye then, Mrs. Taylor,” said Moron.
“Good-bye, Dean,” said Mum.
Mum’s never liked Moron.

Moron’s my height and he’s okay but Jesus he pongs of gravy. Moron wears
ankle-flappers from charity shops and lives down Druggers End in a brick cottage
that pongs of gravy too. His real name’s Dean Moran (rhymes with “warren”)
but our P.E. teacher Mr. Carver started calling him “Moron” in our first
week and it’s stuck. I call him “Dean” if we’re on our own but name’s aren’t
just names. Kids who’re really popular get called by their first names, so Nick
Yew’s always just “Nick.” Kids who’re a bit popular like Gilbert Swinyard have
sort of respectful nicknames like “Yardy.” Next down are kids like me who call
each other by our surnames. Below us are kids with piss-take nicknames like
Moran Moron or Nicholas Briar, who’s Knickerless Bra. It’s all ranks, being a
boy, like the army. If I called Gilbert Swinyard just “Swinyard,” he’d kick my
face in. Or if I called Moron “Dean” in front of everyone, it’d damage my
own standing. So you’ve got to watch out.
Girls don’t do this so much, ’cept for Dawn Madden, who’s a boy gone
wrong in some experiment. Girls don’t scrap so much as boys either. (That said,
just before school broke up for Christmas, Dawn Madden and Andrea Bozard
started yelling “Bitch!” and “Slag!” in the bus queues after school. Punching
tits and pulling hair and everything, they were.) Wish I’d been born a girl,
sometimes. They’re generally loads more civilized. But if I ever admitted that
out loud I’d get bumhole plummer scrawled on my locker. That happened to
Floyd Chaceley for admitting he liked Johann Sebastian Bach. Mind you, if
they knew Eliot Bolivar, who gets poems published in Black Swan Green Parish
was me, they’d gouge me to death behind the tennis courts with
blunt woodwork tools and spray the Sex Pistols logo on my gravestone.
So anyway, as Moron and I walked to the lake he told me about the
Scalectrix he’d got for Christmas. On Boxing Day its transformer blew up and
nearly wiped out his entire family. “Yeah, sure,” I said. But Moron swore it on
his nan’s grave. So I told him he should write to That’s Life on BBC and get
Esther Rantzen to make the manufacturer pay compensation. Moron
thought that might be difficult ’cause his dad’d bought it off a Brummie at
Tewkesbury Market on Christmas Eve. I didn’t dare ask what a “Brummie”
was in case it’s the same as “bummer” or “bumboy,” which means homo.
“Yeah,” I said, “see what you mean.” Moron asked me what I’d got for Christmas.
I’d actually got £13.50 in book tokens and a poster of Middle-earth, but
books’re gay so I talked about the Game of Life, which I’d got from Uncle
Brian and Aunt Alice. It’s a board game you win by getting your little car to
the end of the road of life first, and with the most money. We crossed the
crossroads by the Black Swan and went into the woods. Wished I’d rubbed
ointment into my lips ’cause they get chapped when it’s this cold.
Soon we heard kids through the trees, shouting and screaming. “Last one
to the lake’s a spaz!” yelled Moron, haring off before I was ready. Straight off
he tripped over a frozen tire rut, went flying, and landed on his arse. Trust
Moran. “I think I might’ve got a concussion,” he said.
“Concussion’s if you hit your head. Unless your brain’s up your arse.”
What a line. Pity nobody who matters was around to hear it.

The lake in the woods was epic. Tiny bubbles were trapped in the ice like in
Fox’s Glacier Mints. Neal Brose had proper Olympic ice skates he hired out
for 5p a go, though P... --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Revue de presse

"Mitchell's rendering of time and place in this new book has a warm and lived-in feel. . . . [W]hat Mitchell has set out to do here – to capture the flux of youth, and to dazzle the reader with everyday, awkward human interaction rather than clever narrative conceits – is risky and rewarding. . . . Mitchell's obvious efforts to please the reader work wonderfully, and the novel is never less than tremendously engaging. . . ."
Toronto Star

"Warmly personal, funny and as matter-of-fact and grounded as [Mitchell’s] other books are enigmatic and lofty, Black Swan Green has a strong autobiographical flavour. . . . An easy and enjoyable read, Black Swan Green is at its most compelling when the dialogue is fraught with tension. . . . [I]t offers more in the way of intimacy [than Mitchell’s other work]: It offers a friendship with its precocious and well-meaning young narrator that persists well beyond the last word."
The Globe and Mail

Praise for David Mitchell
“David Mitchell entices his readers on to a rollercoaster. . . . Then – at least in my case – they can’t bear the journey to end. . .a complete narrative pleasure that is rare. . . .Powerful and elegant. . . . He isn’t afraid to jerk tears or ratchet up suspense – he understands that’s what we make stories for. . . . He plays delicious games with other people’s voices, ideas and characters.”
—A. S. Byatt, The Guardian (UK)

“Audacious, exhilarating. . . . A formidable creation. . . . [Mitchell’s] brilliance takes one’s breath away in a manner not unlike a first experience of Chartres or the Duomo. It is a pleasure to sit inside such an edifice, and to marvel. Repeat visits are in order. Each time, a little more structure is revealed. Each time, the space grows less intimidating. Until, finally, it is just a book, one that you are reading with amazement and delight.”
The Globe and Mail

Praise for Cloud Atlas:
Cloud Atlas is a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative.”

“Mitchell has the imagination and technique to deliver a fully figured world with its own language, landscape and customs. An astonishing range of textures and voices are combined to make these worlds feel real. . . . An exorbitant artistic effort has yielded an overwhelming literary creation. . . . Mitchell’s storytelling in Cloud Atlas is of the best.”
The Independent

From the Hardcover edition. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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Par jlya2 le 13 avril 2012
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
J'avais lu auparavant un autre roman de Mitchell (Cloud Atlas), qui m'avait bluffé par sa virtuosité, son imagination, la force avec laquelle il obligeait le lecteur à désirer aller au bout, et la manière originale dont il renouvelait la fiction de fin du monde. J'en était resté habité un certain temps (pas de manière entièrement plaisante d'ailleurs, c'est un cauchemar !)
Black Swan Green est tout autre chose ' un roman d'apprentissage et d'adolescence, dans la province anglaise à l'époque Thatcher. On ne peut donc guère comparer, mais je n'ai pu m'empêcher d'être déçu, par la relative banalité du propos. Les émois des ados, c'est un sujet un peu rebattu, même si Mitchell est assez talentueux pour imaginer des personnages et des situations toujours très vivants. C'est très bien écrit, très bien mené, mais en refermant le livre je me suis demandé ce qu'il m'apportait, et il ne restait pas grand-chose sauf quelques heures d'agréable distraction.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards) 4.3 étoiles sur 5 251 commentaires
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Finally, a coming of age novel that felt REAL 29 avril 2013
Par C. E. Stevens - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I should probably start with a confession: I am in the minority of people who didn't particularly like Catcher in the Rye. I didn't necessarily dislike it, but it just never spoke to me in the way it spoke to so many others. I didn't fully understand why until I read Black Swan Green. For me (and I suspect many others), my youth was not one of prep schools, running away, prostitutes, or mental breakdowns. Most importantly, it was not full of dramatic ANGST, in the way that it is portrayed in Catcher in the Rye. Instead, like Jason Taylor in Black Swan Green, life was simply too busy for wallowing in angst ... "busy" in the sense of mundane adventures (that nevertheless feel more consequential than anything else in the world at the moment), family drama, and the interminable boredom punctuated by moments of terror known as school! As much as one would like to hit the pause button, the merry-go-round of life never stops, especially for a young adult. Mitchell does an outstanding job capturing the day to day excitement, fear, loneliness, and dilemmas actually faced by a 13 year old--many of which can be easily generalized to the world of adults, which is no less full of pecking orders, pressure to look cool/competent, jingoism, fear of failure, etc. than the world of children. In fact, this is part of what makes Mitchell's story so gripping: despite the incredible detail and the specific setting in 1980s England, this is a microcosm representative of the world at large. As a result, Black Swan Green is an extremely universal tale--I felt like I could relate incredibly well to the story, despite growing up neither in the 1980s nor in England!

Black Swan Green was the third tale of Mitchell's that I've read (Cloud Atlas was the first; a character or two from that tale make a brief cameo in this book, in what felt like a slightly self-indulgent move by Mitchell, although it also was a bit clever as a meta-motif of the "everything-is-interconnected" lessons from that novel). Whereas Cloud Atlas is extremely "macro" in scope, Black Swan Green is much more "micro" in terms of geographic scope and time. Yet, it is equally gripping and has an equally important message. I fell in love with Mitchell's writing thanks to Cloud Atlas ... the infatuation only deepened thanks to Black Swan Green: this is an intelligent, gripping, and moving tale that easily belongs in the same conversation with some of literature's great works in the bildungsroman genre.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful book about growing up male 8 mai 2017
Par Elizabeth Mckenzie - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I developed a LOT more empathy for boys and men after reading Black Swan Green! I also thought it was a brilliant exposition on how all people grow from self-absorbed pre-teen/young teen into a more aware teen/young adult. Mitchell's writing is just astonishing, and totally absorbing. I completely identified with his young narrator, and was pulled along with his descriptions of his world. I think I like this book even better than Mitchell's other books such as Cloud Atlas. Less showy authorial tricks, yet really more depth, subtlety and character development. I prefer an author who builds some empathy for his character(s), as well as building a story and perhaps a surprise and a punchy message or theme. This is a great book. I bought it as a gift for my sister, and expect it to make the rounds after that!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Stand aside, Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins and Keanu Reeves in Dracula - Kirby Heyborne is the new king of abysmal British accen 27 mai 2015
Par Arlo Barlow - Publié sur
Achat vérifié
I read Black Swan Green when it was first published and adored it, especially as it's set during my coming of age. I give the book 5 stars.

Sadly there isn't a separate markign system for aidio books. Becasue this audio book would receive one star.

I decided I would revisit the book in audible form as I've take to listeing to audio books whilst working.

The book is almost unlistenable.

An American actor called Kirby Heyborne reads the story in what he presumably imagines to be a British/Englsih/Welsh/Irish/Hebridean/Channel Islands accent.

It's all over the place.

Words are mispronounced/pronounced in the American manner, the accent slides and slithers and there's this bizarre cadence and inflection that Americans so often do when they're attempting a British accent. It rises and falls unnecessarily and randomly.

Stand aside, Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins and Keanu Reeves in Dracula - Kirby Heyborne is the new king of abysmal British accents.

And I know people will think this is yet another example of British people complaining about Americans, but it's really not. I live in the USA so I'm hardly averse to Americans. I would object just as strongly to a poor rendering of and American accent by a British person (after first checkingthat the British actor in question wasn't taking the piss) and indeed I hear many bad fake American accents on BBC Radio 4.

I would imagine that all but the most cloth-eared colonist would be able to detect the inadequate job done by Kirby Heyborne.

It's really the instrusiveness of the performance that spoils the story. Listening to an audio book should involve the listener. The performance should be transparent, allowing the audience to be involved in the story itself, as we are when we read.

What was Random House thinking? Could they not have found a British actor to read this very British tale?

I will read it for you, if you like, Random House. Anything but this travesty.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A year in the life of a 13 year old boy? Yes it is a good read! 16 août 2015
Par PJ - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I wasn't sure that this book would hold my interest because it is almost like a diary of one year in the life of a thirteen year old boy, but it did! I have read several other novels by David Mitchell (not in the order that they were published) and have loved most of them. I was also intrigued by the fact that several characters show up in multiple novels of his, so I am now "back-tracking" to find out more about these characters. Anyway, this young man endures an awkward and painful year, and his story kept me interested from beginning to end. Enough so, that I am going to re-read some other novels by this author because his ability to interweave characters throughout time and around the world is done so well. I want to revisit what happens with Jason later (I believe, in The Bone Clocks, a most unusual story of a totally different genre.) I am a fan!
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great read for fans of David Mitchell 31 janvier 2016
Par J. Houston - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Black Swan Green traces one year in the life of thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor. Jason lives in a small village in Worcester with his witty older sister and his parents. Plagued by bullies and a stammer, Jason only wants two things-to be accepted by his peers, and to write poetry. While the story is at times painful to read (most of us remember being 13; it was pretty painful), Jason is a likeable character with a unique voice. I enjoyed watching him mature over the course of the book. Being American, I also learned a lot of early-80's British slang while reading this book.

If you're familiar with David Mitchell's other works, there are several "cameo"-type appeareances from characters you may recognize from other books--especially The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas. Most notably, Jason's cousin Hugo Lamb, a major character in The Bone Clocks, appears in Black Swan Green as a "smarmy" teen who attempts to teach Jason how to smoke. Eva van Crommelnyck, who was Eva Ayers in Cloud Atlas, also appears as a patron of the arts who mentors Jason with his poetry.
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