Title: Slade House
Author: David Mitchell
Narrator: Thomas Judd, Tania Rodrigues
Audiobook Length: 6 hours, 54 minutes
Genre: Literary Fiction
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 17 November 2015
“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.”
Thoughts on the Novel: Slade House may sound like Hotel California, but I am sure Hotel California never had the Grayer twins at the helm. Creepy, parasitic, and almost comical in their sibling bickering, they are a dangerous pair that is only concerned about continuing their longevity. The trick is to discover their tricks before it is too late.
Mr. Mitchell uses the first person point-of-view quite skillfully throughout the novel. Each section has a different narrator, complete with their own viewpoints and experiences both outside and inside Slade House. With a scarcity of words, Mr. Mitchell is able to create an immense amount of detail and establish a detailed backstory for each character. Each narrator becomes a well-developed, empathetic figure in a short story arc, making their fates that much more powerful and the insidious nature of the Grayer twins more pronounced.
The entire novel, while short, is an impressive collection of interwoven stories. Discovering how each character relates to the others is only half of the fun of this dark ghost tale. With fall rapidly approaching, the season calls for spooky stories of haunted houses and unsolved disappearances. David Mitchell’s Slade House is the perfect read for this time of year.
Thoughts on the Audiobook: Thomas Judd and Tania Rodrigues prove to be excellent narrators, with their performances enhancing this spooky story. Their use of pitch and tonality differences among the various characters brings each character to life, making it easy to get lost into the individual stories. The repetitive nature of the stories could become boring after a while, but they both manager to make each person’s story exciting and fresh even when repeating the same words from chapter to chapter. It would be so easy to skim those sections, but Mr. Judd and Ms. Rodrigues prevent you from wanting to do so. While Mr. Mitchell’s words are already impressive, the narration adds that little extra that changes Slade House from good to great.