Favorite Books of the 2010s: Slade House by David Mitchell

This is a series of book reviews of my favorite books published between 2010 and 2019.


Slade House by David Mitchell (2015)

Every nine years on the last Saturday in October, a mysterious iron door appears in the wall of Slade Alley. If you open it–and you should hope you don’t–you’ll find yourself in an impossible garden looking at the back of Slade House at a place where it absolutely cannot be. And if you venture further in, you’ll soon realize that Slade House is not at all what it seems.

This is a short book, structured like a set of Chinese nesting boxes. Each story, set nine years apart, repeats and builds on the previous one. Mitchell has made an agreeably creepy contribution to the haunted house genre with Slade House, which began as a story told in a series of tweets. There are quite a lot of nice touches that startle and make us feel uneasy, the portraits on the walls being one of my favorite. Even more unsettling is how Mitchell plays with reality, keeping both his characters and us readers feeling off kilter, unable to trust what we are reading. I raced through the first three sections, wanting to know what came next. Mitchell’s writing is as good as ever, and fans of haunted house stories probably should not miss this one.

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