Turn down Slade Alley – narrow, dank and easy to miss, even when you’re looking for it. Find the small black iron door set into the right-hand wall. No handle, no keyhole, but at your touch it swings open. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn’t quite make sense; too grand for the shabby neighbourhood, too large for the space it occupies.
This unnerving, taut and intricately woven tale by one of our most original and bewitching writers begins in 1979 and reaches its turbulent conclusion around Hallowe’en, 2015. Because every nine years, on the last Saturday of October, a ‘guest’ is summoned to Slade House. But why has that person been chosen, by whom and for what purpose? The answers lie waiting in the long attic, at the top of the stairs …
As a club we won’t usually revisit an author for at least a few years, preferring instead to widen our reading scope to new or different writers. But after reading the Bone Clocks last year, the release of Slade House was a must … and soon, before the magic of Bone Clocks disappeared into whatever realm it came from!
Not so much a sequel as a supplement to Bone Clocks, Slade House captivated us in much the same way … with a clever, complex storyline, fabulous characters and a fantastically enthralling plot. There was much to discuss of Mitchell’s bizarre tale, and thankfully Viti came through with her ever enlightening observations, such as the reference to Alice in Wonderland (the door to Slade House), and the house itself being likened to Doctor Who’s tardis. Then there was Mitchell’s use of the number 9, which Viti advised is the ancient symbol of regeneration, something the twins were totally into (albeit, in a most nasty way!) within the walls of Slade House.
We also made comment on Mitchell’s ability to balance the natural and supernatural. There are few of us that would say fantasy is our preferred genre, yet the exploits conjured up in his latest offering had all but one of us applauding. Denise was unimpressed, with little patience for the characters or the storyline. It is worth noting that she has never really taken to any of David Mitchell’s books, so it is not surprising that this one also left her with little joy.
As for the rest of us, we are keen to see what will come next … left with an open ending to rival the best, we have no doubt that Slade House will be back! The big question is … in what form?