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Slade House by David Mitchell

Slade House

by David Mitchell

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1,3431515,754 (3.82)1 / 180
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English (150)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Piratical (1)  All (153)
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
This is a short, discrete book set in the same world as The Bone Clocks. Although the 5 chapters are set at 9 year intervals each only covers a single day, and the location is always the same - Slade House. It's a fun page-turner, not as long or complex as The Bone Clocks, but a quick, enjoyable, snack-sized portion which complements that book. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Mar 6, 2017 |
An inverted haunted house story that ties into Mitchell's metanarrative. ( )
  CKHarwood | Feb 22, 2017 |
2.5 stars

Slade House mysteriously appears every 9 years on Halloween and the people who visit are never seen again. Sounds deliciously creepy, right? But I didn’t find it creepy or suspenseful. Instead, midway through this short book, I was bored.

There are 5 chapters, each devoted to a different character and each set 9 years apart, starting in 1979. I can’t say more without spoilers but while the writing was good, I thought the plotting was lacking and the characters weren’t developed enough for me to care what happened to them. I understand the first chapter was released some time ago on Twitter.

I love a good horror story but this one was just not my cup of tea.
( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Immortality -- and its consequences -- have been on author David Mitchell's mind. His 2014 novel, The Bone Clocks, involved two groups of immortals, the Horologists and the Anchorites, who battle over the proper way to remain immortal, through reincarnation or by "decanting" human souls. The next year brought Slade House, a stand alone work about twin brother and sister Anchorites.

To a great extent, Slade House is a ghost or haunted house story about five different days in nine year intervals from 1979 to 2015. The mansion is owned by twins Norah and Jonah Grayer and seems impossibly situated between two ordinary houses on Westwood Road in London. It is accessible only through a small metal door in an alleyway that leads into a large garden on the property. The tale is about what happens to those who enter the house.

Like any accomplished haunted house or ghost story, detail becomes spoiler. Suffice it to say that when guests enter Slade House things are not as they appear. The hosts admittedly "pass ourselves off as normal, or anything we want to be." And a substance called banjax will put souls in peril in the twins' quest for "pscyhovoltage."

Perhaps because it grew from a short story Mitchell published on Twitter, Slade House is the shortest of his works. It can easily be read in one sitting. And as is Mitchell's tendency, characters from earlier books become role players. This time it's Dr. Iris Marinus-Fenby, Slade House's guest in 2015. She was the male Dr. Marinus in Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, a 2009 novel set in Japan at the advent of the 19th Century, and reincarnated as a woman psychiatrist from Canada in The Bone Clocks. Mitchell has said he plans for Marinus to appear in future works.

Despite Marinus-Fenby's prior appearances, it is not necessary to read The Bone Clocks, which won the World Fantasy Award in 2015 and was longlisted for The Man Booker Prize in 2014. In fact, while Mitchell says Slade House is an independent work, it is a kind of "dessert" to The Bone Clocks, something reinforced by the fact it's about 35 percent shorter.

From my standpoint, though, Slade House is a more enjoyable and far less complicated approach to the world of the Horologists and the Anchorites and their tactics and goals. Besides, aren't there times when all you really want is dessert?

(Originally posted at A Progressive on the Prairie)
1 vote PrairieProgressive | Feb 9, 2017 |
If the timing is right (near the end of October every 9 years), a person could happen down an alley in Britain, come upon a small door, pass through & come upon Slade House. But then said person would never again be seen.

I am still trying to work my way through David Mitchell's books. This one is more of a novella, but follows a similar style to many of his other longer novels, consisting of a series of interconnected stories. Slade House was eerie and surreal, but I liked it, with engaging characters and a well-written creepy plot. It is a companion novel of sorts to Mitchell's previous The Bone Clocks, which I've read and had mixed feelings about. Both books are mind-bending, but I found this one easier to follow and once I was about halfway in, I just wanted to keep reading to find out how it was going to end. What impressed me most was Mitchell's ability to interweave & connect characters and story lines, which is what he does and is known for, but I found that it was done more smoothly & coherently in this one, which made it much more enjoyable for me. ( )
  indygo88 | Jan 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 150 (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.

Full reviews available at http://www.thebookendfamily.weebly.co...
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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)

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