Slade House by David Mitchell- Book Review

P1030872OMG David Mitchell wrote a short book!  I shunned the hard back version of Slade House, but was very excited by the paperback version when the slim tome slipped out of the Amazon cardboard box thingy.

Anyway, I enjoyed this book.  It’s like a creepy ghost story as people are drawn to Slade House, a house which somehow mysteriously stands in a tiny alley, and then disappear. I quite like that you can pick up little clues as to what’s going on as the story progresses.  You get a good feel for what’s happening in each chapter and then their reality starts to shift, and collapse.  As usual with Mitchell each chapter is the internal monologue of a different character in a different time period.  And he’s great at getting into the head of different characters, and clearly loves referencing popular culture throughout the decades.

It can also be seen as a sequel or companion piece to The Bone Clocks which has a lot more fantasy exposition.  I was quite pleased that the confusing explanations of horology, banjax, and thingamy doodle was kept to a minimum with fantasy replaced with a little gothic horror instead.  But Mitchell likes to reference his previous work by dropping in characters from his other books, I assume for his own amusement but maybe he is trying to create a universe here?  You do have to be careful with self-references though, as it can be a bit annoying. You don’t need to have read The Bone Clocks first (in fact this would be a more accessible entry to this world) but as soon as a certain character popped up I knew who they were and what would happen next.

The book is quite short, I finished it in a day which is pretty good for me!  I was enjoying it and it felt a little like it ended before it had really got going. I’m also getting a little tired of this structure because so many of his books are like this.  My favourite book of his was The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet which is a much more straight forward narrative structure and apparently took him four years to write.   This felt like he had written it in an afternoon.  Still fun though.