Friday, January 8, 2016
by David Mitchell
Random House 2015
256 pages Horror
Slade House is a novel I would not have read—horror is not a genre I generally choose,--but it was short; it came with a cute little box; and the reviews were great. In actuality, it isn't really a horror story, but more of a ghost story, although there is a haunted house, soul-eating vampires, and plenty of suspense.
Every nine years, an estate called Slade House appears behind a high wall in an alley off a London street. The estate is approached only by a small door in the wall. A pair of twins live in that house, and when the house appears, they find ingenious ways to eat the soul of an unsuspecting but appropriately lured trespasser. The fun begins in 1979 and continues over five chapters, each chapter nine years later. The reader knows something bad is going to happen in each chapter as do many of the victims. One character is heard to say, "Something bad's happening in this house, Sal. We need to get out!"
This is one of the touches of humor that creeps into the plot at opportune times. For instance, one character says, "This is all sounding a bit 'DaVinci Code' for me." The humor lightens the perspective of the book, and the reader soon realizes that Mitchell has written the book in good fun. It might be called "horror light."
Reviewers say that it is a sequel to The Bone Clocks, and that while Slade House is Mitchell's most "accessible" novel, it doesn't show off the depth of his talent. The Huffington Post reviewer concludes: "Tightly crafted and suspenseful yet warmly human, Slade House is the ultimate spooky nursery tale for adults." For my part, I enjoyed Slade House immensely, and that is enough for me.
The Review in the New York Times.
The review in the Huffington Post.