Title: Slade House
Author: David Mitchell
From the back: Born out of the short story David Mitchell published on Twitter in 2014 and inhabiting the same universe as his latest bestselling novel The Bone Clocks, this is the perfect book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night.
Turn down Slade Alley – narrow, dank and easy to miss, even when you’re looking for it. Find the small black iron door set into the right-hand wall. No handle, no keyhole, but at your touch it swings open. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn’t quite make sense; too grand for the shabby neighbourhood, too large for the space it occupies.
A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t.
This unnerving, taut and intricately woven tale by one of our most original and bewitching writers begins in 1979 and reaches its turbulent conclusion around Hallowe’en, 2015. Because every nine years, on the last Saturday of October, a ‘guest’ is summoned to Slade House. But why has that person been chosen, by whom and for what purpose? The answers lie waiting in the long attic, at the top of the stairs…
The gist: It’s my first reading of any of Mitchell’s books, and this was a whole lot of fun. It reminds me of cold, crisp nights, wrapped up in a blanket, perhaps some hot chocolate in hand, perhaps some wine. It’s cosy, ghosty, reading. It’s mysterious, full of secret doors and changing rooms (not in a Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen kinda way). The characters span across the years, each having their own voices and backgrounds, each painting the scene in very different ways. It’s not full of shocks, but it is full of spooks, and it sends a comfortable shiver down your spine. One of those shivers where you know you’re scared but it’s in that good, blanket-will-sort-it, kinda way. It’s a ghost story in the tradition of ghost stories, and it deserves to be read out loud with a candle under your chin. Just don’t stare at the candle for too long, you don’t know what’s gonna happen next.
Bonus point; the paperback cover is soooo goddamn pretty.
Favourite line: “Bitch” is a stingless insult these days – it hurts like, I don’t know, a celery-stabbing.”
Read if: You want mystery, ghosts, and horror that makes you want to curl up with a blanket by a roaring fire.
Read with: Whisky and Christmas
Get it: Slade House by David Mitchell