Saturday, October 24, 2015

Slade House

Slade House by David Mitchell
Random House: 10/27/15
eBook review copy, 256 pages
ISBN-13: 9780812998689

Slade House by David Mitchell is a perfectly unnerving collection of interconnected haunted stories featuring a brother/sister duo. I highly recommend it.

The novel contains 5 chapters each of which are told from a different characters point of view. The events in each chapter all occur nine years apart and the action involves Slade House and the inhabitants, the Grayers. Those who are invited to Slade House, and you must be invited in order to find it, have to find and go down Slade Alley, a short, narrow alley, and look for a small black iron door. Once you duck down and go through that door you will be entering the impressive gardens of a large house and you will meet the charming inhabitants.

Each chapter is a first person narrative set nine years in the future from the last character. The first chapter is set in 1979 and the fifth in 2015. The first chapter did an excellent job of capturing my attention. The characters were finely drawn and believable. Even when I began to suspect that all was not as it seemed, the reality of what Slade House was and the proclivities of the inhabitants surprised me. This first chapter sets the tone for the whole novel.

Even though I was pretty sure something was going to happen after the first chapter, the way it happens surprised me every time.  The characters are diverse and carefully developed. The writing is excellent and helps create a visual image and emotional connection to each character.  I need to mention, again, that I was surprised each time when something happened that I thought I knew might happen after reading the first chapter. 

It's probably best to read Slade House without too much information on the actual plot. It held my rapt attention from beginning to end, but it did seem like it could have used a few more stories. Perhaps that feeling will be remedied by reading The Bone Clock. Apparently Slade House is a companion novel to The Bone Clock which, alas, is on my to-be-read list.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Random House for review purposes.

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