Why not read a book about an eerie house during this spooky month of October? Turns out, I didn’t realize that this short novel was an offshoot story from David Mitchell’s larger universe of The Bone Clocks. I can’t help but feel like maybe had I already read The Bone Clocks I would have enjoyed Slade House more, but as a story itself it isn’t bad, and definitely made me interested to pick up the original book that this is a companion to because of it.
In any case, Slade House is a story that spans across five decades, centered on a mysterious house that no one has ever really heard of or seen except for one every nine years, when some special person (typically lonely or different in some way) is invited inside and never to be seen again. The residents of the house who do the inviting, however, don’t necessarily seem to think that their way of life can last as it has, and that sooner or later something or someone will come along to throw things out of balance for them.
Having read another novel earlier this year that deals with inter-connected time jumps focused on different characters, Midwinterblood, there was something familiar about the progression of the story and how it would cycle. There was also something really repetitive feeling about it: the way each section would ultimately go, the conversations had near the end of each one, etc. Of course, the cycle finally breaks to form a satisfying conclusion, but not having some of the inner knowledge of The Bone Clocks did make me feel like I missed something in the explanation at the end.
Overall, Slade House is a pretty quick and painless read, with some vivid imagery and characters that for the most part seem complete and engaging (though as with any almost anthology-like story, to varying degrees). As I said, I am intrigued to read more David Mitchell now (I did also love Cloud Atlas!), though for this book on it’s own, while a fun little adventure, I fear it may end up being a bit forgettable in the long-run for me.