Slade House

By David Mitchell

Slade_HouseKinsey has read a fair number of Mitchell’s books, but this is my first one, and the only way I was able to put it down at all was to try to stretch it out for longer, it was so good! It is also very spooky, so I recommend it for a good October reading, leading up to Halloween. (I realize I’m cutting it a bit close here.)

The story is broken into five chapters, which are all set in the same mysterious house but which each take place 9 years later than the previous one. That alone would be enough to get me, but what really sold me was that each chapter is told in first-person from people from a fairly wide variety of backgrounds and, of course, generations.

The first chapter is set in 1979, with a young teenage boy, clearly on the autism spectrum, accompanying his middle-class but social-climbing mother to an afternoon soiree at the prestigious Slade House. Because this first narrator doesn’t always see things the way neurotypical people might, the awareness that something is off about Slade House came to me gradually. Which, of course, only enhanced the spookiness!

Each chapter unlocks more about what is going on in the house, until the final climatic reveal, which takes a bit of an L from where it appeared to be going. This turned out to be a bit controversial in my household, where I thought it was an intriguing departure from the norm, and Rebecca thought it was lame (though she really enjoyed the rest of the book).

4 comments on “Slade House

  1. Kinsey says:

    I hadn’t even heard of this one! I am putting it on my library list now.

  2. Kinsey says:

    Okay, I finished Slade House last night and I see the reason for the disagreement. I think the issue is: this is not exactly a stand-alone book. It’s a not a sequel, exactly, but it’s a companion to The Bone Clocks, and I’m not sure all the pieces make sense or have all the power the author wants them to have if you haven’t read them both.

    Also, I think The Bone Clocks is a more powerful, better-structured book, so I’d actually recommend that Rebecca (and you!) read that and then see how she feels about the whole thing.

    (Cara and I really need someone else to talk about the last chapter of The Bone Clocks with, anyway.)

    • Anna says:

      Oooh, that makes so much sense! It really did seem to kind of come out of the blue, so I need to add The Bone Clocks to my list, since I enjoyed this book so much!

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