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Slade House

Cover of Slade House

Slade House

A Novel
The New York Times bestseller by the author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Named One of the Best Books of the Year by San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, National Post, BookPage, and Kirkus Reviews
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. . . .
Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.
Praise for Slade House
"A fiendish delight . . . Mitchell is something of a magician."The Washington Post
"Entertainingly eerie . . . We turn to [Mitchell] for brain-tickling puzzle palaces, for character studies and for language."Chicago Tribune
"A ripping yarn . . . Like Shirley Jackson's Hill House or the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King's The Shining, [Slade House] is a thin sliver of hell designed to entrap the unwary. . . . As the Mitchellverse grows ever more expansive and connected, this short but powerful novel hints at still more marvels to come."San Francisco Chronicle
"Like Stephen King in a fever . . . manically ingenious."The Guardian (U.K.)
"A haunted house story that savors of Dickens, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling and H. P. Lovecraft, but possesses more psychic voltage than any of them."Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Tightly crafted and suspenseful yet warmly human . . . the ultimate spooky nursery tale for adults."The Huffington Post
"Diabolically entertaining . . . dark, thrilling, and fun . . . a thoroughly entertaining ride full of mind games, unexpected twists, and even a few laughs."The Daily Beast
"Plants died, milk curdled, and my children went slightly feral as I succumbed to the creepy magic of David Mitchell's Slade House. It's a wildly inventive, chilling, and—for all its otherworldliness—wonderfully human haunted house story. I plan to return to its clutches quite often."—Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl and The Grownup
"I gulped down this novel in a single evening. Painstakingly imagined and crackling with narrative velocity, it's a Dracula for the new millennium, a reminder of how much fun fiction can be."—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

"David Mitchell doesn't break rules so much as he proves them to be inhibitors to lively intelligent fiction."—#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz
From the Hardcover edition.
The New York Times bestseller by the author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Named One of the Best Books of the Year by San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, National Post, BookPage, and Kirkus Reviews
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. . . .
Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.
Praise for Slade House
"A fiendish delight . . . Mitchell is something of a magician."The Washington Post
"Entertainingly eerie . . . We turn to [Mitchell] for brain-tickling puzzle palaces, for character studies and for language."Chicago Tribune
"A ripping yarn . . . Like Shirley Jackson's Hill House or the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King's The Shining, [Slade House] is a thin sliver of hell designed to entrap the unwary. . . . As the Mitchellverse grows ever more expansive and connected, this short but powerful novel hints at still more marvels to come."San Francisco Chronicle
"Like Stephen King in a fever . . . manically ingenious."The Guardian (U.K.)
"A haunted house story that savors of Dickens, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling and H. P. Lovecraft, but possesses more psychic voltage than any of them."Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Tightly crafted and suspenseful yet warmly human . . . the ultimate spooky nursery tale for adults."The Huffington Post
"Diabolically entertaining . . . dark, thrilling, and fun . . . a thoroughly entertaining ride full of mind games, unexpected twists, and even a few laughs."The Daily Beast
"Plants died, milk curdled, and my children went slightly feral as I succumbed to the creepy magic of David Mitchell's Slade House. It's a wildly inventive, chilling, and—for all its otherworldliness—wonderfully human haunted house story. I plan to return to its clutches quite often."—Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl and The Grownup
"I gulped down this novel in a single evening. Painstakingly imagined and crackling with narrative velocity, it's a Dracula for the new millennium, a reminder of how much fun fiction can be."—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

"David Mitchell doesn't break rules so much as he proves them to be inhibitors to lively intelligent fiction."—#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz
From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover The Right Sort
    1979

    Whatever Mum's saying's drowned out by the grimy roar of the bus pulling away, revealing a pub called The Fox and Hounds. The sign shows three beagles cornering a fox. They're about to pounce and rip it apart. A street sign underneath says westwood road. Lords and ladies are supposed to be rich, so I was expecting swimming pools and Lamborghinis, but Westwood Road looks pretty normal to me. Normal brick houses, detached or semi­detached, with little front gardens and normal cars. The damp sky's the color of old hankies. Seven magpies fly by. Seven's good. Mum's face is inches away from mine, though I'm not sure if that's an angry face or a worried one.

    "Nathan? Are you even listening?" Mum's wearing make­up today. That shade of lipstick's called Morning Lilac but it smells more like Pritt Stick than lilacs. Mum's face hasn't gone away, so I say, "What?"

    "It's 'Pardon' or 'Excuse me.' Not 'What?' "

    "Okay," I say, which often does the trick.

    Not today. "Did you hear what I told you?"

    " 'It's "Pardon" or "Excuse me." Not "What?" ' "

    "Before that! I said, if anyone at Lady Grayer's asks how we came here, you're to tell them we arrived by taxi."

    "I thought lying was wrong."

    "There's lying," says Mum, fishing out the envelope she wrote the directions on from her handbag, "which is wrong, and there's creating the right impression, which is necessary. If your father paid what he's supposed to pay, we really would have arrived by taxi. Now . . ." Mum squints at her writing. "Slade Alley leads off Westwood Road, about halfway down . . ." She checks her watch.

    "Right, it's ten to three, and we're due at three. Chop-chop. Don't dawdle." Off Mum walks.
    I follow, not stepping on any of the cracks. Sometimes I have to guess where the cracks are because the pavement's mushy with fallen leaves. At one point I had to step out of the way of a man with huge fists jogging by in a black and orange tracksuit. Wolverhampton Wanderers play in black and orange. Shining berries hang from a mountain ash. I'd like to count them, but the clip-­clop-­clip-­clop of Mum's heels pulls me on. She bought the shoes at John Lewis's sale with the last of the money the Royal College of Music paid her, even though British Telecom sent a final reminder to pay the telephone bill. She's wearing her dark blue concert outfit and her hair up with the silver fox-­head hairpin. Her dad brought it back from Hong Kong after World War Two. When Mum's teaching a student and I have to make myself scarce, I sometimes go to Mum's dressing table and get the fox out. He's got jade eyes and on some days he smiles, on others he doesn't. I don't feel well knitted today, but the Valium should kick in soon. Valium's great. I took two pills. I'll have to miss a few next week so Mum won't notice her supply's going down. My tweed jacket's scratchy. Mum got it from Oxfam specially for today, and the bow ­tie's from Oxfam, too. Mum volunteers there on Mondays so she can get the best of the stuff people bring in on Saturdays. If Gaz Ingram or anyone in his gang sees me in this bow tie, I'll find a poo in my locker, guaranteed. Mum says I have to learn how to Blend In more, but there aren't any classes for Blending In, not even on the town library notice board. There's a Dungeons & Dragons club advertised there, and I always want to go, but Mum says I can't because Dungeons & Dragons is playing with dark forces. Through one front window I see horse racing. That's Grandstand on BBC1. The next three windows have net...
About the Author-
  • David Mitchell is the award-winning and bestselling author of Slade House, The Bone Clocks, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, Number9Dream, and Ghostwritten. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. With KA Yoshida, Mitchell translated from the Japanese the internationally bestselling memoir The Reason I Jump. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine It's not necessary to listen to THE BONE CLOCKS in order to thoroughly enjoy this sequel. Top-notch narrators Thomas Judd and Tania Rodrigues give amazing performances of Mitchell's wildly original characters and surreal situations. A sinister brother and sister invite certain young people to Slade House. Each person who accepts the invitation--a preteen boy, a college girl, a cop--becomes important to us just before the unthinkable happens. Meanwhile, the war is still going on between the compassionate Horologists, helpers of humankind, and the ominous, self-serving Anchorites. Both narrators make the creepy moments in this genre-bending haunted-house mystery memorable. David Mitchell's divine fiction is bigger on the inside. The deeper you go, the more there is. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 13, 2015
    Mitchell’s latest novel is his shortest and lightest to date, and it functions as a sort of entry-level offering from the author of hugely ambitious novels such as Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks. Unfortunately, it gives Mitchell’s fans far too little of a good thing. Tucked into an alley behind a British dive bar is the sprawling and mysterious Slade House, inhabited by the soul-eating, shape-shifting Grayer Twins. In episodes that begin in 1979 and end in the present, they lure a succession of human hosts into their Wonderland-like abode. First there’s a geeky teen and his mother, then a hard-boiled detective and a crew of New Wave ghost hunters, followed by a backstory-heavy section framed as an interview with an expert on the case. All will eventually enter the mind-bending architecture of Slade House and engage in psychic warfare with its denizens. There is a solid haunted-house book in here somewhere, but it’s wedged intermittently into a surfeit of quirk, repetition, and esoteric dialogue that’s very hard to take seriously without a more solid foundation. It all builds up to the requisite wizard duel between the Twins and the formidable Iris Marinus-Levy, who will be familiar to readers of The Bone Clocks. The high degree of self-reference—and the skipping through genre and time—is trademark Mitchell, but the constant rehashing of what is already a pretty thin plot means that this offering fails to really stand up on its own, or to add anything new to the Mitchell-verse.

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Slade House
A Novel
David Mitchell
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