Clocks and Houses

Slade House – Review

The Bone Clocks was one of my big reads in 2015. It was the first David Mitchell book I ever read – Cloud Atlas had sat on my shelf for a long time but something about The Bone Clocks drew me in right away.

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I didn’t know what to expect from Mitchell’s writing, but The Bone Clocks totally enthralled me. I loved how the book twisted and turned, and there was no clear direction or well-worn plot device being used. So when Slade House, somewhat of a sequel or follow up found it’s way into my hands, I couldn’t wait to get right into it.

 

Fair to say, I am going to try and write this without any spoilers for The Bone Clocks or Slade House. But bear with me.

 

Slade House follows the other side of the story presented in The Bone Clocks. Young people are drawn towards Slade House and it’s mysterious inhabitants. The first young person we meet appears to have autism, her perceives the world in a very different way.

 

Tension and a sense of dread permeate every sentence from the start. Something is not right. Mitchell deftly draws his characters, bringing them to life quickly, and forcing the reader to make a connection with them; even the more unlikeable characters you end up rooting for. But the tone, the sense of dread, lets you know that things aren’t going to go right. At least not right away.

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If you are familiar with Mitchell’s work, you will know the kind of story he likes to tell. He isn’t writing you a happy ending. But what he is writing you is a story that makes you consider the nature of time, the fleeting opportunities we have in life, and to really make the most of your time on earth. He does this without banging you over the head about it; he simply demonstrates how short life can be, and his characters experiences enough regret and enough joy, to make you want to take every opportunity that comes your way.

 

Also, Mitchell is amazingly inventive. I rate him along side Neil Gaiman for inventiveness, a creative mind unusual in the world. Mitchell’s worlds are so well drawn, so unusual and his ideas are so unique, they are fascinating. I have serious envy of the ideas he comes up with. Truly remarkable.

 

If you haven’t read any Mitchell, I recommend you start with The Bone Clocks. Slade House is a much, much shorter novel, around 200 pages, more like a novella I suppose, and a companion piece, rather than a sequel; however it will not make a great deal of sense if you have not read The Bone Clocks. I liked Cloud Atlas but I found it so depressing, it was difficult to get through. I read Slade House in an afternoon; easy, engaging, enjoyable. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

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