Not a first novel

This post was written by Friday guest blogger Annie Reid.

Over at the New York Observer, Adam Begley reviews David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green, and finds it thrilling and lacking, all at once:

Black Swan Green is exactly what one wanted from David Mitchell, whose first three novels have been clever, intricate and exotic. This new one sticks close to home and seems simple and direct — it has the naked emotional appeal of a well-wrought first novel distilled from the author’s own intimate experience. But of course it’s not a first novel … unless it’s been sitting for years in a bottom drawer. And though it feels like autobiography (our hero, a bright boy with a spark of literary talent, was born, like the author, in 1969), it’s surely a bad idea to make lazy assumptions about a writer as subtle and sophisticated as Mr. Mitchell.


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