‘It’s a good place to start with this author’ – Slade House by David Mitchell

shdmA year ago, David Mitchell wrote a story on Twitter to promote the launch of his sixth novel, The Bone Clocks. That experiment inspired his latest book, Slade House, which makes use of the same world of Operandi and Horologists.

Slade House is more of a spin-off than a sequel. In true David Mitchell style it is a clever mix of genres and voices: part ghost story, part detective mystery accurately told by a varied cast of narrators. Like the master impressionist we’ve seen in his previous novels, Mitchell perfectly mimics a variety of voices, including an autistic boy, a jaded male cop, and a love-struck female student.

Each of them is drawn to the alleyway where a tiny doorway to Slade House appears around Halloween every nine years. Each has a special kind of soul that can feed the ‘life support machine’ inside: a pair of evil soul sucking twins.

If Slade House could be criticised (and that’s difficult), it could be that each of the stories become somewhat repetitive: someone is lured into Slade House and they end up missing. But the shifting voices and styles disguises any repetition to give five separate, engaging and thrilling stories, all interconnected to tell one, making Slade House a matryoshka doll of a novel.

To promote Slade House, Mitchell is writing another Twitter story throughout October 2015. Will this lead to further inspiration? Can we expect part three of an unplanned trilogy? Or will this end up a series of novels featured in The Bone Clocks world? Slade House‘s ending would appear to suggest it could.

Any Cop?: For those who haven’t managed to tackle any of Mitchell’s previous epics yet, Slade House is a shorter and, in some ways, more accessible, novel. It’s a good place to start with this author, to become one of the many who avidly await the release of his work.

Jim Dempsey

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