Black Swan Green
It's a dank January in the Worcestershire village of Black Swan Green and thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor -- covert stammerer and reluctant poet -- anticipates a stultifying year in the deadest village on Earth. But Jason hasn't reckoned with a junta of bullies, simmering family discord, the Falklands War, an exotic Belgian emigre, a threatened gypsy invasion and the caprices of those mysterious entities known as girls. BLACK SWAN GREEN charts thirteen months in the black hole between childhood and adolescence, set against the sunset of an agrarian England still overshadowed by the Cold War. Wry, painful, funny and vibrant with the stuff of life, it is David Mitchell's subtlest and most captivating achievement to date.