Friday, January 08, 2016

Slade House (by David Mitchell)

I am a David Mitchell fan (and so far, a completist) so I had to put this one on my Christmas list. As an aside, I've read a lot of books on Kindle lately, so this beautiful little volume with the keyhole cover and pages that turn delighted me even before I started reading it. I'm glad to have this one in tangible form.

Although of course all Mitchell's novels are connected, this one is most closely connected to the main storyline of The Bone Clocks. It's made up of short chapters that take place every nine years, from 1979 to 2015.  The somewhat fantastical premise is that these creepy twins, Jonah and Norah, have to ingest someone's soul every nine years to remain immortal. Every nine years, then, they find someone with certain qualifications, lure them to Slade House, which may or may not be entirely real, and complete a bizarre soul-ingesting ritual. I've already said too much.

I mentioned that this had been labeled a "horror novel" and indeed, it is filled with Annihilation-style pleasurable ookiness. Also it pulls off the classic Mitchell move, presenting a series of vignettes that are all linked somehow, with quicky and richly drawn characters. I particularly liked Nathan Bishop and Sally Timms, and it was delightful to see Iris from The Bone Clocks again. I actually think the short length and simplified premise means it hangs together even better than The Bone Clocks. I also think it would work well coming to it as a standalone, although I defy anyone to read it and not move on to The Bone Clocks immediately.

Do you like David Mitchell? Pleasurable ookiness? Stories about soul ingestion? Then Slade House is the read for you!

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