Originally Posted by tangerine
I am currently reading Black Swan Green, and I like it, but the person who recommended it to me advised me to stay away from Number Nine Dream. jpgm have you read Black Swan Green, and if so, how does it compare?
Black Swan Green is ok. Mitchell's best work by a mile is "Ghostwritten". It has all of Mitchell's (rather prodigious) skill, but one gets the feeling that he is not aware of it yet, making the book a lot more "real". It has none of the surreal qualities, or the rather ham-handed imagery that his other work has.
Originally Posted by jpgm
hell as in hella good, or hell as in you felt like you were on fire, and you wished that someone would put you out...?
I wished someone would put me out. I should also mention that I read the book in Tokyo, and it didn't make it any better. I get the feeling Mitchell is a little too aware of his own skill. He loves displaying it, and you can almost feel his presence behind the page, getting carried away as he gets more and more fantastical and off-topic. He lacks the tightness and sparseness that I tend to look for in great writers. He gets good reviews, but mostly from the brit press, who only love two things, loving, and hating. I myself, keep reading his books for two reasons: one, I hope he will rediscover the humility with which he wrote "ghostwritten" and I will be thrilled with him again, and two, I'm a sucker for a good turn of phrase, and while his prose may be meandering and overwrought at times, he still manages to hammer out passages that make me stop dead.