Slade House, by David Mitchell



Four stars, read in August 2017.

I love the format of this book, the way each section is told from the perspective of one of the house’s victims. It felt especially intimate that way, making the story personal and a little emotional as well as creepy.

This is the sixth of Mitchell’s books that I’ve read, and I really wonder what it would be like for someone who hasn’t read his others. Knowing who [a certain character toward the end] was really affected the way I experienced the last section, and I wonder how well all the Horology elements would have worked for me if I hadn’t read The Bone Clocks already. (Side note: I listened to this on audio, so I may be remembering spellings incorrectly.) The second half of Slade House suddenly hit all of that stuff hard, and I feel like it may have seemed abrupt and overly complicated to someone who’d spent the first half of the book thinking it was just a scary story. If I’d been concentrating harder, I could have seen it from a newcomer’s perspective as well as my own, but I wasn’t.

This—like the rest of Mitchell’s books—doesn’t quite live up to Cloud Atlas for me, but in a way that . . . doesn’t bother me, if that makes sense? I just really enjoy being in that world for a while. And Slade House is much creepier than the others, even a little gory—which would not be my preference in general, but was a pretty cool angle for one book in the collection to take. If you’re a fan of either David Mitchell or the horror/fantasy genres, you’ll want to try it out.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Jan Hicks says:

    I can’t wait to get to this. I think the clever thing about his novels is that they can be read in isolation from each other. I remember being thrilled when I realised that actually each book is a chapter in a much bigger story. I read Cloud Atlas first and then as I read his others, I discovered the links between them. My favourite is still The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, but I also really loved Black Swan Green. I’m sad to think that I’ll never read his book for the Future Library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gwen says:

      Me too. I kind of hated hearing about that because as cool an idea as it is, it makes me genuinely sad that I won’t get to read those books by authors I love. That’s very different from books by future authors I’ll never meet.

      Cloud Atlas is still my favorite, but The Thousand Autumns is my second. Black Swan Green is one of the few I have yet to read (or maybe the only one, now that I’ve read Slade House? Clearly I did not go in order, which is a testament to how well they can be read apart from each other).


      1. Jan Hicks says:

        If only we could time travel. I’d quantum leap to 2114 in a heartbeat! It makes me think about what life will be like then, whether the chosen authors will be the equivalent of H G Wells, Edith Wharton, Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Gaskell. I hope that they are.


      2. Gwen says:

        Do you mean in how well their books hold up? I wish we could know who is going to have that staying power.

        Related: I read a book last year that explores this exact question, and it was fascinating. But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman.


      3. Jan Hicks says:

        Yes, just that. I sometimes wonder about how the authors we venerate as writers of classics were viewed by their contemporary audiences. Publishing was very different. There weren’t as many writers. The ones who have longevity wrote about human concerns that are still relevant. What if the books in the Future Library are released and the world shrugs its shoulders? Or what if the Future Library is completely forgotten? I’m going to track down that Klosterman book now!

        Liked by 1 person

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