A fresh perspective: Horrors from David Mitchell

Here’s another in a series of book reviews written by students in the opinion writing class in the School of Media and Journalism at UNC Chapel Hill.

Reviewed by Josiah H. Graham

SLADE HOUSE. By David Mitchell. Random House. 238 pages. $26

In Slade House, every corner and crevice is a trap; do not wander, do not smile at familiar faces, just run.

Once again, David Mitchell succeeds in weaving a perfect tale of murder, mystery and intrigue. Set in the foggy and often-overcast backdrop of England, the novel quickly introduces us to the Slade House, a mirage tucked deep within the streets and alleyways, visible only to those who will be its next victims.

This novel grabs readers with an interesting concept – a peculiar home that reappears once every nine years. From the first chapter set in 1979, “The Right Sort,” to the concluding chapter “Astronauts,” set in present day, readers will discover the dubious nature of the Slade House and its owners, the Grayers, a family with a penchant for deception and torture. One thing is certain: If you enter into their home, you will become a permanent guest.

Slade House is a much leaner novel than Mitchell’s other works, but this does not diminish the book. Rather, it strengthens it. The reader will quickly blaze through this novel, a modest 238 pages, as if it were doused with gasoline.

David Mitchell has already displayed that he has skill and a keen eye when creating interesting multilayered and hauntingly real characters in Cloud Atlas (2004) and The Bone Clocks in (2014). However, Slade House is where Mitchell demonstrates to the world that he’s perfected that art.

Every thought, every sentence, every verb is unique to each character. They live and breathe on their own, and they die on their own.

Shown 37 years of the infamous Slade House’s history, readers will inhabit the minds of each poor soul, witness the horrors through their eyes, and watch as they unravel the mysterious truth behind the precise origins of the home.

Slade House is a mystifying masterpiece filled with twists and turns that will leave you surprised and alarmed by the end of every tantalizing chapter.

Mitchell’s newest creation is definitely a must-read, perfect for any gloomy wintry afternoon.



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