Monday, November 09, 2015

'Slade House' by David Mitchell

9 November 2015

David Mitchell's crazy, brilliant, ridiculous and wonderful book, 'The Bone Clocks' (reviewed here in October 2014) was my Pick of the Year 2014. It was a wonderful surprise therefore to discover, a couple of weeks ago, that David Mitchell was about to publish another new novel so soon after 'The Bone Clocks' – and a delight to learn that 'Slade House' returns to the same (parallel) universe of that previous novel. 'Slade House' (which I read as an unabridged audio book, narrated by Tania Rodrigues and Thomas Judd) is a short ghost story for Halloween 2015 that acts as a bonus DVD extra for fans of 'The Bone Clocks' or a taster for those who haven't read the earlier book. It recounts five episodes, each nine years apart, beginning in 1979 and finishing on 27 October 2015. It was a pleasure to be immersed in David Mitchell's rich prose again. He paints a host of characters, through first person narration, that are each quickly distinct and believable. And he renders each historical period with deft touches and avoidance of cliché. 'Slade House' is a macabre tale that still manages to be engaging and funny. Mitchell is a playful writer, disguising a range of cultural references within the text and reintroducing characters from his previous novels. 'Slade House' contains elements of 'Alice in Wonderland' and Kazuo Ishiguro's evocation of dreaming, 'The Unconsoled'. It's a slight novel and the plot structure is fairly predictable but there was one great twist that I really didn't see coming. It was very enjoyable to return to the world of 'The Bone Clocks' but I hope David Mitchell's next novel will take us into new territory.



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