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.
Song For This Book: Creep by Radiohead
Why? ‘I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul’ was what went through my head for the entire book, honestly.
I saw this book every time I went into Chapters, and picked it up every single time to read the back cover. So after doing this repeatedly and acquiring a gift card, I decided to just get it and stop looking at it every time I went to the bookstore.
This book is less like a novel, and more like a collection of short stories revolving around the same house. But somehow, Mitchell makes that work, and all the stories come together so well, keeping you hooked into the story, even as characters come in and out. I’ve heard this is common for Mitchell’s novels, and I can definitely see why people have mixed feelings about it.
This book is dividing into five part, each focusing on a different person in or outside of Slade House, and each part builds on what you learned in the last, until you come to know the whole story of how the whole thing started and how the whole thing ended. While all the characters who visit the house are different, the stories seem almost hypnotically repetitive. Which seems like something that would be boring, but it actually keeps you hooked in until you’re wondering why the book is ending.
The Good Points of Slade House:
This isn’t something I would say about many books, but this book is the perfect length. Each section is just long enough to give you everything you need, without going overboard.
I liked the variation in the characters in each part of the story. The teenager, the policeman, the people in Slade House, the sisters, they’ve got a bit of everything in there. It makes each consecutive story interesting, to see how they connect to the previous and to the next.
Mitchell does a good job of making the reader feel a little creepy, but not so much so that it would turn away non-horror fans. It’s the perfect amount of creepy.
I loved the details of the story. The pictures, the food, the details of how the house is set up for each person. They seem pointless at first, but when you start putting them together, it’s so cool.
The Downsides of Slade House:
The first couple of stories are a bit slow. Maybe it’s because you don’t realize how important some of the details are, but it does take some time to get into this book. Once you get past those first two stories, though, it’s not an issue at all.
I do feel like I was missing something in this book. This may be because this book is part of The Bone’s Clock, or at least, in the same world as it, and I have not read that one. While I couldn’t put my finger on it, it felt like there was something I just didn’t know.
All in all, this is a fun little book and an easy read. It’s just creepy enough to work, without being over the top scary. It’s definitely one of those books you want to pick up around Halloween, just to get you in the mood. Worth checking out for sure!