Slade House by David Mitchell: Book Review

Slade House

Obtained: Penguin Random House, ARC
Pages: 256
Publish date: October 27, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started to read Mitchell’s Slade House, but I heard from a friend online that it was really scary, at that word always perks me up. I love when books can pull off scary, whether it be a psychological thriller or a book full of terrifying images that haunt you all night. Halloween is coming up – so I figured I’d get in the mood with an appropriate novel. And this one definitely pulls off “scary”.

Slade House begins with Nathan Bishop accompanying his mother to somewhat of a dinner party at a place called – well, you guessed it – Slade House. They find the entrance to this residence in a creepy alleyway and Nathan is hesitant to enter, until he does. The beautiful garden makes a lovely place for him to play with another boy his age. But just when you feel as though things are going quite normally, that secure feeling quickly diminishes and you become very aware that nothing inside this house is as it seems.

The novel spans over the course of about 45 years, telling the tales of different victims who wander into this haunted house unknowingly, and the way Mitchell weaves their stories together is so striking. As much as I wanted to root for the protagonists of each chapter, I found myself spending more of my time trying to decipher the mystery of the house and its “ghosts”. The protagonist of this novel is without a doubt the eerie house itself, and I wanted to know more about its past.

But the most important thing for me when it comes to reading anything “creepy” is how I feel when I’m reading it. Am I scared? Do the images haunt me days after I’ve turned the final page? To these questions, I can easily answer yes. My goodness, yes. There are some moments in this novel where I found myself imagining so vividly the scene that I would cringe or hold in my breath until it was over. I’ll be sitting at my desk at work and suddenly I’m reminded of the fate of certain characters and shake my head.

Slade House is a wonderfully constructed novel that reinvents the typical “haunted house” story in a way that will entertain readers, most definitely. If you’re looking for something quick to read this Halloween that will make your skin crawl, I highly recommend Mitchell’s Slade House.

Slade House is available online at Chapters Indigo, Book Depository, and Kobo.


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