"Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door. Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . . ."
That's the premise behind the newest offering from bestselling author David Mitchell. This fall, nine public libraries in Central Illinois partnered to celebrate reading through a program called Central Illinois Reads. Penguin Random House generously donated 100 advance reader copies of Slade House for us to distribute, and discussions will be taking place over the next month.
I've never read Mitchell's Cloud Atlas or The Bone Clocks, but I don't think that affected my reading of Slade House too much. While Slade House does not bristle with originality, I was pulled in to the story after a slow start, and it is a very quick read. The language is rich and playful, and I was even surprised by some English phrases I didn't recognize. If you are looking for a short, spooky, seasonal novella to creep you out this October, look no further than Slade House. It's like a sweet but insubstantial Halloween treat.
Bonus points for mention of the abbey on the Hebridean Isle of Iona (which I have visited and is suitably spooky) are slightly reduced by an eye-rolling mention of Hotel California (which I've been singing on and off since I first read the description of Slade House).
Thank you to Penguin Random House and netgalley.com for advance reader copies of Slade House.