My experience with David Mitchell to date is limited to The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet which I read earlier this year. It’s shameful but I have yet to read Cloud Atlas, even though it’s sitting in my TBR pile along with Black Swan Green and number9dream.
Thousand Autumns was a dense, atmospheric historical that, while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I would not categorize as “light” reading. Slade House couldn’t be more different. It skips along at a goodly clip and you could easily read it in one sitting.
So this is what Mitchell’s twist on the haunted house tale looks like: Every nine years, a small door appears in Slade Alley (itself located in a small English town), beckoning certain people to explore what lies on the other side. What these people find is initially enticing, offering up to each person something missing but badly desired: For the first victim, Nathan, a high-functioning, autistic boy, who enters Slade House along with his mother, it’s the promise of a friend who finally gets his quirks and differentness; for the divorced police detective who stumbles upon the alley door nine years later while investigating the disappearance of Nathan and his mother, it’s the promise of a roll in the hay with the young widow who seemingly inhabits Slade House; another nine years along, six, paranormal-obsessed college students, having heard the rumors about Slade Alley and its mysterious disappearances, want nothing more than to see a ghost or two. Unfortunately for all these poor folks, once you enter Slade House you’re doomed to die there. I was going to insert a “Hotel California” reference here but David Mitchell himself beat me to it, dang it!
I read innocently along, lapping up the spookiness through the first three segments of the book, then happened to stop and read a couple of reviews by some folks that, like me, had received ARCs of the book in advance of its publication. Oops. Turns out I picked up David Mitchell’s Slade House not realizing that it’s a sort of companion piece to The Bone Clocks, a book I have yet to read. As I kept reading with this new knowledge, it became apparent that, while the book functions just fine as a stand-alone, I probably would have gotten even more meaning out of it had I read The Bone Clocks first. So . . . now I’ve ordered The Bone Clocks from Amazon so I can throw it in the TBR pile with the other Mitchell books. Sneaky, David Mitchell, luring me in with what I thought was a one-off, only to find that you really wanted me to read The Bone Clocks all along! I did catch the blink-and-you-miss-it connection to Thousand Autumns though, and 1,000 points to anyone else who spies it.
NOTE: Slade House is expected to be released on October 27, 2015.
Full Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided to me by Random House Publishing Group – Random House via NetGalley. I would like to thank the publisher for providing me this opportunity. All opinions expressed from here forward are my own.