A belated first novel

David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green began as a story he abandoned at 23. He calls the book a first novel — it’s the fourth he’s published — and says:

First novels are a maligned form…. That’s partly justified, because they are usually by people in their early 20s who don’t have much experience to draw on, and haven’t yet worked out how to project out of themselves. But they can really get under the skin: the clutch of years at the beginning of our adult lives fixes us in permanent glue.


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