I first read BSG in that odd haitus in the fall of ’07 where I’d forgotten I had a blog, and I’d wiped from the old brain-slate nearly everything except that there was a motorcycle accident at some point. I’d forgotten utterly Jason’s mental cast of characters: the Unborn Twin who undermines all of his decisions, the Maggot who encourages his inner coward, the Hangman who chokes off his words at inopportune moments. I’d remembered that the writing was splendid, but I’d forgotten how splendidly, teenage-boyishly poetic.
So. Jason is just entering his teens in the rural village of Black Swan Green. There’s no real plot arc, unless it’s Jason Gets Older And Figures Some Shit Out. The story, such as it is, is built of episodic threads, all of which sound like TGIF sitcoms on the outline. Jason discovers a wallet that isn’t his and has to decide whether to give it back. Jason is bullied. Jason accidentally smashes his grandfather’s watch which his father deliberately told him not to smash. So trite-sounding, so stunning and organic in actual fact.
And so cut off earlier than you’d expect. In each story nugget, Mitchell gets you just over the hump of the climax and then abandons you to your own devices while he moves on to something else. Maybe later, kind of as an aside, you find out what happened to Moron Moran after he crashed through Blake’s greenhouse, but not here. I can’t explain why I enjoyed this so much. I think it has to do with that inherent trust an author places in their reader to tie up their own damned threads. It is tantalizing.
I want you all to read this so badly I can’t even stand myself. It is my own personal diamond in the not-smoothish, because people have read it, but NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE! Get on that, other people.
Nine caterpillars, and my long-lost teenage heart.