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 …
This month’s book took a few of our members a little out of their comfort zone, but as a whole, the group thoroughly enjoyed Mitchell’s fantasy world of the carnivorous Anchorites twins Norah and Jonah Grayer.
The superbly drawn characters, enticing language and gothic plot line mixes fantasy and reality in an intriguing and highly entertaining way. After the first chapter, most of us had to reconfigure what they thought this book was, but once bitten, there was no retreating from the goings on in Slade House!
Slightly reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, there was also a little Stephen King lurking within the pages. Nicely compacted and readable, Slade House is best taken in one sitting, and if more of this outrageously imaginative story is required, one can also take on Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks which delves deeper into the world of Horologists and Anchorites. Surely fantasy at its best!