David Mitchell — Red Alert

There are now galleys of itit being David Mitchell’s new novel.

Since we’re repeatedly on record her as being major David Mitchell fans, since a character devised by Mr. Mitchell did, in fact, inspire our podcast, we’re wondering who we have to blow to get a copy of this.

Mitchell’s next novel is Black Swan Green. It reportedly tells the tale of a 13 year old English boy in 1982. In this interview, we have this information:

In one of the 13 chapters of ‘Black Swan Green’, a major character is a woman in her sixties called Eva van Outryve de Crommmelynck, now an old lady. She’s the daughter of Madam Crommmelynck, wife of Vyvyan Ayrs, who the composer Robert Frobisher, went to stay with in ‘Cloud Atlas’.

In the same section, there’s a very minor character, called Gwendolin Bendincks, who appears in the old folks home in the Timothy Cavendish section, about fifteen, twenty years before Timothy Cavendish meets her. She’s a waspish vicars’ wife in Black Swan Green.

So we have some carryover from Cloud Atlas. Black Swan Green will be composed of 13 chapters, one for each month. The Falklands war factors in. Interestingly enough, each chapter is a short story that Mitchell tried to write independently. In the selfsame interview, the very humble Mitchell remarks that it’s the best thing he’s written.

Some more info on Black Swan Green can be found here from the Oxford Literary Festival, where Mitchell is described as reading two segments from the book for the first time. One was a sex scene and Mitchell, in fact, got a bit embarassed when reading it. But he also asked the audience which version of a sentence they preferred during this reading.

Needless to say, we’re having someone hose us down with cold water tonight.


  1. Squee! I’ve been thinking a lot about Cloud Atlas lately, partly because Readerville has been discussing it and partly because I finally sat down and read The Line of Beauty. My conclusion? The Booker went to the wrong place. I’ve been going on about it on my blog, but basically it feels as if the judges preferred something political and closer to their own personal experiences over a book that truly says something about the human condition. It’s really quite sad when you think about it.

  2. I, too, am ultra-hot-to-trot for this. “Ghostwritten” has been on hold while I finish Auster;s New York Trilogy, but I’ve been gazing at it lovingly, planning to read it (and then #9) absed wholly on my sheer enjoyment of Cloud Atlas. Thanks for the thorough post about the new book. April is a long way away.

    New site layout looks good, by the way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *