Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Slade House

"There's a small black iron door, set into the brick wall.  It's small all right. I'm four feet eleven inches, and it's only up to my eyes. A fat person'd need to squeeze hard to get through. It has no handle, keyhole, or gaps around the edges. It's black, nothing-black, like the gaps between stars...The door pulls my palm up against it. It's warm. And as it swings inwards, the hinges shriek like brakes..."
This is how we first learn about the entrance to a house that only appears for a day every nine years. Slade House (2015) by David Mitchell is a wonderful story about a wickedly-haunted house. The novel begins in 1979 with a mother and her son being invited to a concert at Slade House and every chapter after takes place nine years later until the final chapter which takes place in 2015. Each chapter brings us someone new experiencing the house for the first time. I don't want to give too much away, but I'll just say that this novel gives meaning to the saying that if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Stephen King says this about Slade House "Hard to imagine a more finely wrought and chilling tale of the supernatural. One of the rare great ones." In fact, I learned about this book in an article at called 16 New Books Recommended by Stephen King. I'm slowly working my way through the list, by the way.

Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket series, called the novel "Sharp, fast, flat-out spooky, Slade House is such a hypnotic read that you are likely to miss your subway stop in order to keep reading. And by you, I mean me." I couldn't agree more.

What I love about this book besides the fact that it gave me shivers of delight is how simple and compact it is. Mitchell tells the story concisely. Each chapter could be a short story, but it all neatly builds to the chilling ending of the very last sentence. Perfection.

I'm giving Slade House the Shivers of Delight seal of approval.  I'll be seeking out more books by David Mitchell in the future.

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