Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Slade House

Title: Slade House
Author:  David Mitchell
Publication Information:  Random House. 2015. 256 pages.
ISBN:  0812998685 / 978-081299868

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Shelf Awareness.

Opening Sentence:  "Whatever Mum's saying's drowned out by the grimy roar of the bus pulling away, revealing a pub called The Fox and the Hounds."

Favorite Quote:  "One simply cannot discuss this with those who voluntarily amputate their consciences." 

Norah and Jacob Graynor.
1979 - Rita Bishop and her son Nathan.
1988 - Detective Inspector Gordon Edmonds.
1997 - Sally Timms.
2006 - Freya Timms.
2015 - Iris Marinus-Levy.

Atemporals. Telepathy. Lacuna. Orison. Suasioning. Slade House.

Know what these mean? Know how they are connected? I didn't, either. But these are the characters, concepts, and place of the latest creation from the imagination of David Mitchell. It's difficult to write about this story without some kind of a spoiler, for the connections between these disparate times and characters is the key to the book. I will try though.

One thing I will say about the ending - Be warned, this book reaches an ending that seems to indicate that a sequel may emerge, and the cycle may continue. If such endings are not for you, consider yourself warned.

As with David Mitchell's books Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, Slade House constructs its story over different periods of times. Unlike the other two books, however, this book has a clear central story and a very clear connection from one section to the next.  Each section builds upon the one before to come to a dramatic, albeit unexpected, conclusion. This is also the only one of the books that, at one point, actually explains the back story and the chronology that lead to the events in the book. As such, it is easier to understand and follow than the other two, but it lacks the philosophical bent of the other two books.

This book also references, in passing, Crispin Hersey from The Bone Clocks. Other connections to the world of The Bone Clocks also come up throughout the story, particularly at the end. Knowing these connections is not necessary to following the story of Slade House, but I always love seeing cross-references in books, especially when I have read both books. It's like a secret hidden in the book. Given that the Slade House ending indicates a possible sequel, perhaps that book will be a crossover of both?

The story of Slade House is all fantasy reaching over into horror. Many of the characters, however, are present day, modern individuals, including a single mother, a child told to "act normal," a police officer, a college student, and a journalist. These characters interject a counterbalance to the oddity and horror that is Slade House. These seemingly real-life characters make this book much more approachable and much more possible than the rest of the book would appear. It makes it much easier to suspend disbelief and see where the story leads.

The shorter length of the book also makes this book immensely readable. The pace is very quick; I had trouble putting the book down. At one point, it seems that the sections are repeating a pattern, and I as the reader may know what comes next. Except that I was completely wrong. The plot takes a twist to an ending I did not see coming.

Despite the surprise ending, this book is much more of a straight line from beginning to end compared to other David Mitchell books I have read. I am not sure how I feel about the ending indicating more to come. Yet, at the same time, I cannot stop reading, waiting to see where his imagination takes me next.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment