Summary and book reviews of Slade House by David Mitchell

Slade House

by David Mitchell

Slade House by David Mitchell X
Slade House by David Mitchell
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2015, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2016, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kendra Wright-Winchester

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About this Book

Book Summary

Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.

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 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 house's residents - an odd brother and sister - extend a unique 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 Slade House? For those who find out, it's already too late...

Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story - as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

Excerpt
Slade House

"Tell me about your recur¬ring nightmare, Nathan." We're sitting by the pond on warm paving slabs. The pond's a long rectangle, with water lilies and a bronze statue of Neptune in the middle gone turquoise and bruised. The pond's bigger than our whole garden, which is really just a muddy yard with a washing line and rubbish bins. Dad's lodge in Rhodesia has land going down to a river where there're hippos. I think of Mrs. Marconi telling me to "Focus on the subject." "How do you know about my nightmare?"

"You have that hunted look," says Jonah.

I lob a pebble up, high over the water. Its arc is maths.

"Is your nightmare anything to do with your scars?"

Immediately my hand's pulled my hair down over the white-and-pink-streaked area below my right ear, to hide where the damage shows the most. The stone goes plop! but the splash is invisible. I won't think about the mastiff launching itself at me, its fangs pulling ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Readers who love Mitchell's genre-bending writing style won't be disappointed — he remains a master at his craft. But these same readers might find that narrators in Slade House sound similar to those in other novels. And though this book expands on Mitchell's alternative reality universe, characters clumsily, and sometimes too obviously, explain how the plot's fantastical elements work. Despite a few issues, Slade House captures your attention from the start.   (Reviewed by Kendra Wright-Winchester).

Full Review (572 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The high degree of self-reference—and the skipping through genre and time—is trademark Mitchell, but the constant rehashing of what is already a pretty thin plot means that this offering fails to really stand up on its own, or to add anything new to the Mitchell-verse.

Library Journal

In Mitchell's (The Bone Clocks) assured hands, this unsettling supernatural tale is deliciously inventive and hard to put down.

Booklist

Superb . . . Mitchell offers his most accessible book yet—a haunted-house story in the vein of such classics as The Turn of the Screw and The Haunting of Hill House ... Suggest to fans of Audrey Niffenegger, Karen Russell, and Steven Millhauser, and expect it to be read as a Halloween staple for years to come.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Ingenious, scary, and downright weird ... [a] delicious ghost story.

Esquire (UK)

A ripping little Victorian gothic yarn, and one of which @edgarallanpoe would have been proud . . . Slade House plunges us into full psycho-mystic fantasy-horror—and it’s a hoot.

The Independent (UK)

David Mitchell turned all the firepower of his formidable gifts on the lures, and the perils, of immortality. . . . Yet, as ever, Mitchell grounds his fantasy in high-definition, close-up scenes of daily experience.

Tatler (UK)

Prepare to be dazzled.

The Literary Review (UK)

[A] triumph . . . Mitchell’s most pleasurable book to date, which also features some of his finest writing.

Author Blurb Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
I gulped down this novel in a single evening. Intricately connected to David Mitchell's previous books, this compact fantasy burns with classic Mitchellian energy. Painstakingly imagined and crackling with narrative velocity, it's a Dracula for the new millennium, a Hansel and Gretel for grownups, a reminder of how much fun fiction can be.

Author Blurb Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"David Mitchell doesn't break rules so much as prove them inhibitors to lively, intelligent fiction. Slade House is a fractal offshoot of his remarkable The Bone Clocks, an eerie haunted-house tale that takes as much from quantum mechanics as from traditional supernatural lore, a spellbinding chiller about an unnatural greed for life and the arrogance of power.

Author Blurb Adam Johnson, author of Fortune Smiles and The Orphan Master's Son, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
What can't David Mitchell do? Slade House is a page-burning, read-in-one-sitting, at times terrifying novel that does for the haunted-house story what Henry James did for the ghost story in The Turn of the Screw. It has all the intelligence and linguistic dazzle one expects from a David Mitchell novel, but it will also creep the pants off you.

Author Blurb Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Horns
David Mitchell has long been acknowledged as one of the finest - if not the finest - literary minds of his generation, but he's also one of the most suspenseful, and he proves it in every gripping, vertiginous setpiece.

Author Blurb Daniel Handler, New York Times bestselling author of the Lemony Snicket series
Sharp, fast, flat-out spooky, Slade House is such a hypnotic read that you are likely to miss your subway stop in order to keep reading. And by you, I mean me.

Reader Reviews

Cloggie Downunder

another excellent offering from this talented author.
Slade House is the seventh novel by British author, David Mitchell. Slade House is a haunted house with a difference. It is not easily found, nor can just anyone get in. But once every nine years, at the end of Otober, a guest enters from Slade Alley...   Read More

takingmytime

Every Nine Years
Slade House was built in 1930. It was razed in 1940. But...life went on in Slade House - at least for one night every nine years. I felt I was confused during the first 50 pages or so of this book. Then it all fell together. However, nothing was ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Two Haunted Houses in England

You might not find Slade House in the real world, but England, where the novel is set, boasts of haunted houses with their own sinister histories. Here are two of them.

The Borley Rectory

The Borley Rectory The rectory in the village of Borley in Essex was built in the 1860s for the Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull. After his death in 1892 his son, Harry Bull, took over the parish. On his death in 1928, the Rev. and Mrs. Smith moved into the vicarage and started to report odd phenomena. They contacted a tabloid newspaper who sent in paranormal researcher Harry Price, and immediately the level of paranormal activity increased. Mrs. Smith would later say that she thought that Price had instigated much of it. Local lore at the time (believed to have ...

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