Slade House by David Mitchell

Once every nine years, a mysterious little gate appears in Slade Alley.  It allows entry to the grounds of Slade House, but only to those who have been invited.  And invitations are few and far between.  Upon entry, it at first seems to be exactly what the individual is looking for (whatever that is), and by the time they realise that things may not be as they seem, it’s too late to do anything about it.

Slade House spans five decades, and each time the reader learns a little more about the house and its unusual inhabitants.  And the guests seem to have little in common – a young teenage boy, a recently divorced policeman, a student who is just trying to fit in.

This is David Mitchell’s take on the haunted house story, and came out of a twitter story Mitchell posted in October 2014 to coincide with the release of The Bone Clocks.  If, like me, you were constantly refreshing twitter when this story was originally posted then you will recognise the opening of Slade House – a chapter called “The Right Sort” set in 1979.

At a little over 200 pages, this is a short novel that still manages to deliver a lot.  Each of the five chapters delivers a full insight into the guest in that particular chapter, and each chapter is beautifully linked, despite being set nine years apart.  Slade House is both mysterious and enchanting, and I was gripped by the gradual reveal of its secrets.

I have high expectations whenever I pick up a novel by David Mitchell (I’ve read them all except for number9dream), and I wasn’t disappointed by Slade House.  This is a creepy, chilling tale told in Mitchell’s unique style and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Slade House is set in the same world as The Bone Clocks, but can be read as a standalone piece or as an extension to the earlier novel.  That said, I think that those who have read The Bone Clocks (and Mitchell’s other works) may get a little more out of it – there are references to his previous works that a fan will appreciate – but this is a great read whether you’re already an admirer of Mitchell’s or completely new to his work.

Many thanks to the publisher Sceptre for sending me a signed proof copy.

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