I would like to welcome my Mister Brian to Skipping through the stacks. He is a huge fan of David Mitchell and I was able to get him a review copy from Random House and Netgalley. Thank you to both for providing this copy for review. This is his first book review and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. He says that if you have not read any of Mitchell’s other books there may be slight spoilers so please take that into consideration. Welcome Brian!
Title: Slade House
Author: David Mitchell
Publisher: Random House
Publishing Date: October 27th, 2015
Every 9 years something spooky happens in an alley off Westwood Road…
David Mitchell’s newest release, Slade House, is a linear collection of 5 short stories weaved together over the span of 36 years. Beginning in 1979, we are introduced to a young boy and his fame-obsessed mother. They journey to a mysterious and difficult-to-find house in late October only to disappear forever. In 1988, we meet a detective who succumbs to the same fate while investigating the boy/mother disappearance from 9 years prior. In 1997, we travel to Slade House with a co-ed group of local college students following the leader of their paranormal activity club. Convinced it’s all a hoax they join the Halloween party at the mysterious and eerie establishment only to lose one of their own in the process. In 2006, we retrace the steps of the college co-ed who vanished in 1997 through the eyes of her older sister. Desperate to find answers that will explain her sister’s disappearance she gets too close and never returns. And in 2015, something truly special happens that upsets the 9-years-every-October cadence of horror at Slade House.
For those familiar with Mitchell’s work this linear progression comes as no surprise. He is a master of puzzles within puzzles and this collection of short, but intertwined, tales is no exception.
What did I like about this book?
The first thing I liked about this book is that it wasn’t 700+ pages! It’s a quick and fairly simple read, even for someone like myself who reads slowly. Next, in true Mitchell fashion, I loved how each every-9-years chapter had it’s own feel; it’s own place in time; and it’s own character development. Every chapter is truly it’s own short story, but interlaced with characters, events and materials important in other chapters of the book. Finally, I really enjoyed the character and location connections to other Mitchell books (for example, The Bone Clocks and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet). I’m sure there were connections to his other books as well, but I haven’t read the entire David Mitchell catalog…yet.
What I did not like about this book?
Hard to say as I really did love this book. While I was happy to see a reduction in explicit sexual content in this book when compared to other Mitchell stories, there was still enough present for me to say this is not a story for anyone under 18. The details of violence is something I can handle without issue, but others may disagree and become upset by the destructive ways in which many characters meet their demise.
This is the ultimate haunted house story of our time, and I honestly have to give Slade House 5 stars.