Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review: "Slade House" by David Mitchell

No one writes quite like David Mitchell. His last book, The Bone Clocks, made the list of my favorite books I read in 2014, and now I was utterly captivated by the quirky, slightly creepy, and utterly compelling Slade House.

Slade House is a bit of an anomaly. If you go looking for it most days, you won't find it—you'll simply go down the narrowest alley you've ever seen and search in vain, and if you ask passers-by whether they've heard of Slade House, chances are they'll look at you like you've gone mad. But the truth is, Slade House is only visible every nine years, and only if you've been chosen by the house's owners, a mysterious brother and a sister, will you get the chance to enter. You'll be amazed by the beauty of your surroundings, the grandeur of the house—and then you'll start to realize all is not what it seems. But by then, it's too late.

Slade House spans five decades, beginning in the 1970s, and follows an unlikely group of people as they encounter the house and its owners. A misfit teenager accompanying his musician mother for a recital, a recently divorced policeman with an eye for the ladies, a college student who joined her college's Paranormal Society to get closer to one of her fellow students, and an investigative journalist all enter the house; some have knowledge of its existence, some are totally unaware. And then it becomes difficult to distinguish what is real and what is in their minds.

I'm not going to say more about the plot for fear of spoiling it. Once again, David Mitchell has created a tremendously unique story with lots of twists and turns (and there's even a tiny overlap with a character from The Bone Clocks, but you don't have to have read that book to enjoy this one. This book has vivid imagery, fascinating characters, and even takes some trips into the territory of authors like Stephen King, Peter Straub, or Dean Koontz, but still remains completely Mitchell-ian. (If that word doesn't exist, now it does.)

Give yourself a little post-Halloween treat that won't pack on the calories, and pick up this book. Chances are, like me, you're going to want to read more of Mitchell's books afterward.

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