Category Archives: Literary Fiction

Reading Slade House by David Mitchell #RIPXII


RIPXII Group Read — Slade House

I’ve started listening (again) to Slade House by David Mitchell (Random House Audio, 2015) for the RIPXII Group Read with Andi of Estella’s Revenge and Heather of My Capricious Life. I started it once before – thinking it came before The Bone Clocks (which I read back in January in a readalong with Care of Care’s Books & Pie) – and have been wanting to get back to it.

So far I’ve noticed a few references to people/things from The Bone Clocks but Slade House seems to be a companion novel rather than a sequel, so far. I think I understood the events early in Slade House sooner because I’ve read The Bone Clocks, but it’s not necessary to read them in order, unless you’re a stickler for that sort of thing. (Which I do happen to be. Obviously.)


Slade House
so far is a haunted house story like you’ve never read before. The narrators of the story change frequently. Some of the characters who tell their stories of visiting Slade House are more likeable than others, but all have been desperately unhappy. Hope for the best, but expect the worst could be their words to live by.


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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR #BoneClocks2017

Meme badgeReading and Bloggiesta-ing at the same time today, adding one more day to the weekend, thanks to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday!

Mini Bloggiesta January 13 to 15 badge
This week I’m reading Bone Clocks by David Mitchell for a readalong (#BoneClocks2017) hosted by Care at Care’s Books and Pie and Melissa of Avid Reader’s Musing. I also just downloaded Slade House by David Mitchell for audiobook listening this week, because I heard through the readalong crowd that there is some connection between the two. I hope I won’t get the two confused!

What is Bone Clocks all about? I have no idea, really…It appears so far to be a quest story with elements of fantasy and literary fiction, tucked inside a coming of age story. (Or the other way round.) Set in England. In other words, one of my favorite kinds of book! I knew nothing about Bone Clocks going into the readalong (and I wasn’t planning to sign up for challenges, etc. this year) but the other books by David Mitchell that I’ve read (Black Swan Green and Cloud Atlas) were so good that I couldn’t resist this chance to read Bone Clocks and talk about it at the same time.

The first part of Bone Clocks is narrated by a fifteen-year-old girl who is starting to assert her independence from her parents, especially her mother. Holly Sykes is a handful, but loves her younger brother, Jacko. (Holly reminded me a little of Meg from A Wrinkle in Time, who also had an unusual younger brother, but I don’t know if there were any deliberate references, as I haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time in ages.)

The narration in Bone Clocks has just switched to Hugo Lamb, a horny undergraduate at Cambridge, who seems callow and obnoxious at first, but if he turns out to be on the side of good (vs. evil) I expect he will redeem himself. He’s older than Holly – who is callow and obnoxious at age 15 – but boys mature later than girls?

If you want to jump in for the rest of the #BoneClocks17 Readalong, it’s not too late! It’s scheduled to go through February.

Bone Clocks Readalong button
The Bone Clocks Readalong Kickoff (Melissa)

The Bone Clocks Readalong Kickoff (Care)


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR) is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in, everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at Book Date.

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Male Family Dysfunction in Maine (Even the Narrator is a Boy): The Miracle on Monhegan Island by Elizabeth Kelly

cover imageThe publisher of The Miracle on Monhegan Island calls it “another rollicking, summertime family saga” from author Elizabeth Kelly, but I think “rollicking” is a slightly misleading description, unless you’d also call the stories of the dark dysfunctional family summers in We Were Liars by E. Lockhart or Maine by Courtney Sullivan “rollicking.”

Although The Miracle on Monhegan Island overflows with humor and is narrated in its entirety by Ned, a purebred Shih Tzu who is wise beyond his years on the subjects of both human nature and dog breeds, the humor is mostly dark. The Monahan family is still recovering from events related to mental illness that broke up the family in the past.

I am a big fan of author Elizabeth Kelly, although you might not know it from my blog. I was so impressed with her two previous novels – Apologize, Apologize! and The Last Summer of the Camperdowns –  that I was afraid my reviews wouldn’t do them justice. But after reading an advance copy of The Miracle on Monhegan Island, which is coming out on May 10th and is written in the same understanding, unsentimental tone – a blend of light and dark, heavy on the dark– as her earlier books, I want to make sure my blog readers don’t miss hearing from me any longer about author Elizabeth Kelly (not to be confused with Canadian romance author Elizabeth Kelly, or Catholic inspirational author Elizabeth Kelly.)

Monhegan Island is a real island in Maine with cliffs overlooking the ocean, miles of walking trails, unspoiled natural vistas, and no cars.

photo of Monhegan Island
Photo from Monhegan.com http://monhegan.com

Before Spark, the prodigal adult son, returns after an absence of many years to the family home, he steals a dog as a gift for his young teenaged son Hally on impulse from the backseat of a car, thus changing Ned’s life completely, as Spark’s return to Monhegan Island also changes the life of his son Hally, who has lived alone with his artist uncle and stern preacher grandfather since the death of his mother when he was little. Pastor Ragnar is either a crackpot or inspired by God, but his faithful following grows exponentially when Hally reports seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary, igniting a firestorm of media attention and obsessed visitors to the isolated island.

Ned muses frequently on how different and more meaningful his life turned out to be from the petted and pampered life he had believed was his lot; his witty observations of the behavior of the members of the human family he now belongs to and the other humans (and dogs) on the island are equally keen and thoughtful.

You don’t have to be either a dog person or a God person to appreciate the dark humor of this story of the fine line between religious fervor and psychosis and the strength of blood lines and family ties. Add this one to your summer reading list, if you don’t mind a few loose ends and unanswered questions to ponder over after you close the book!

The Miracle on Monhegan Island
Kelly, Elizabeth (@ElizabethKelly8)
Norton, May 10, 2016
9781631491795 (hard.)
$25.95

Disclosure: I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.