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Slade House by David Mitchell

Slade House (edition 2015)

by David Mitchell (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,9881955,069 (3.79)1 / 234
Title:Slade House
Authors:David Mitchell (Author)
Info:Sceptre (2015), 240 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Slade House by David Mitchell


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English (193)  Piratical (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Chinese, traditional (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (199)
Showing 1-5 of 193 (next | show all)
Disappointing. From all the reviews I expected scary - it really wasn't.

EDIT: revising my review, because it wasn't scary initially. But in the weeks since I finished it, it's been creeping up on me. Well done, David Mitchell. ( )
  liz.mabry | May 13, 2019 |
Not his best. Maybe because I've read all his books, but this felt like I'd seen it all before, and he didn't bring anything new to the table. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
Slade House is my first exposure to David Mitchell. I especially liked the first chapter which was creepier than I expected. The other chapters were good but a little repetitive. If I could give 4 1/2 stars I would. ( )
  KateSavage | Mar 29, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Every nine years on the last Saturday in October, a mysterious iron door appears in the wall of Slade Alley. If you open it--and you should hope you don't--you'll find yourself in an impossible garden looking at the back of Slade House at a place where it absolutely cannot be. And if you venture further in, you'll soon realize that Slade House is not at all what it seems.

This is a short book, structured like a set of Chinese nesting boxes. Each story, set nine years apart, repeats and builds on the previous one. Mitchell has made an agreeably creepy contribution to the haunted house genre with Slade House, which began as a story told in a series of tweets. There are quite a lot of nice touches that startle and make us feel uneasy, the portraits on the walls being one of my favorite. Even more unsettling is how Mitchell plays with reality, keeping both his characters and us readers feeling off kilter, unable to trust what we are reading. I raced through the first three sections, wanting to know what came next. And here is where I feel Mitchell may have let us down somewhat. The fourth section, although it keeps up the pattern, explains perhaps too much what is going on in Slade House, at least for this reader, who prefers her ghost stories to remain uncomfortably ambiguous. And if you have already read The Bone Clocks, you will know as soon as the final section starts how things are going to go down. (I think Slade House would be more enjoyable if you read it before The Bone Clocks.) Uber-fans of the Horologists may not mind that, but I was wishing Mitchell had taken us somewhere less expected, instead of revisiting old territory. Despite these disappointments, Mitchell's writing is as good as ever, and fans of haunted house stories probably should not miss this one.
2 vote sturlington | Mar 28, 2019 |
Found a beautiful UK paperback edition at No Alibis bookstore in Belfast and re-read on the plane home.

'My theory is that they're ordinary children, living in their own time, doing their thing, whom I overhear. Like the telephone lines of our times have crossed. The wall between our 'now' and their 'now' is thin. That's all.' (Chloe Chetwynd to Gordon Edmonds, 64)

'On our way out, speak to nobody; respond to nobody; meet nobody's eye. Accept nothing, eat nothing, drink nothing.' (Todd to Sally, 127)

Grief is an amputation, but hope is incurable hemophilia: you bleed and bleed and bleed. (Freya, 142)

'Who's telling the truth? That I can't tell you. Truth has this habit of changing after the fact, don't you find?' (Fred Pink to Freya, 154) ( )
  JennyArch | Mar 15, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 193 (next | show all)
**** 4 out of 5 stars
Review by: Mark Palm
Not Another Haunted House.

The one thing that I have come to expect from David Mitchell is that you never know what you are going to get. That is true once again with Slade House. Nominally a haunted house novel, Slade House reminded me of the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant. The one who touched it’s tail thought that it was a rope, the one that touched it’s ear thought that it was a fan, the one that touched it’s leg thought that it was a pillar. They are all wrong, but they are somehow all right as well.

The story starts with Nathan Bishop, a teenaged boy and his musician mother, who enter Slade House expecting a party, and are greeted by Jonah, a teen-aged boy who seems to have unusual abilities. We can’t quite be sure at first, because the section is narrated by Nathan, who is on valium, which makes his perception strange, as he says. As the story continues, however, and grows more and more surreal, we discover that strange and horrible things are indeed happening in Slade House. Unfortunately for Nathan and his mother, the revelation comes too late.

NIne years later a tough but conceited cop, Gordon Edmunds, is looking into the disappearance of the Bishops and he is lured into Slade House by an attractive young widow, Chloe Chetwynd. At dinner, the two witness ghosts. Once again things get decidedly surreal, and our protagonist is manipulated by their desires into becoming a victim of the strange beings who call Slade House their home. This pattern occurs again and again as we learn that the entities are Norah and Jonah Grayer, who need souls to feast upon. To go into more detail is impossible without dropping a ton of spoilers, but Mr. Mitchell rewards the patient reader, as each section of the story peels away a bit of the mystery. That’s part of the rub, though. For me, not knowing the story made the earlier sections exceptionally creepy. It was satisfying to learn more and more, but as I did I found the book to be a bit less effective.

Mr. Mitchell’s prose, written in the first person through various characters, is exceptional. Each is unique in tone and pace, and all are believable. The biggest problem that I had with Slade House is that I didn’t really feel that it stands that well on it’s own. It is creepy, and effective, and prior knowledge of The Bone Clocks makes Slade House a more effective novel. Still, it’s definitely original, and definitely worth your time.

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Whatever Mum's saying's drowned out by the grimy roar of the bus pulling away, revealing a pub called The Fox and Hounds.
Grief is an amputation, but hope is incurable haemophilia: you bleed and bleed and bleed. (p. 142)
The wackometer needle is stuck on 11. (p. 171)
Think about it: about the squalid, shitty reasons that people murder each other in large numbers now. Oil; the drug trade; control over occupied territories and the word 'occupied'. Water. God's true name, His true will, who owns access to Him. The astonishing belief that Iraq can be turned into Sweden by deposing its dictator and smashing the place up a bit. (p. 172)
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Book description
Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.

Down the road from a working-class pub, along a narrow brick alley, you just might find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Later, you'll find that you can't. Every nine years, the residents of Slade House extend an invitation to someone who's different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside? For those who find out, it's already too late...

Spanning decades, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, Slade House is a haunted house story as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

Haiku summary
Welcome to Slade House:
eat, drink and be merry, but
you will never leave.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812998685, Hardcover)

From “one of the most electric writers alive” (The Boston Globe) comes a taut, intricately woven, spine-chilling, reality-warping short novel. Set across five decades, beginning in 1979 and coming to its electrifying conclusion on October 31, 2015, Slade House is the perfect book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you'll find the entrance to Slade House: a surreal place where visitors see what they want to see, including some things that should be impossible. Every nine years, the house's residents--an odd brother and sister--extend a unique invitation to someone who's different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it's already too late" --… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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