Slade House Readalong & Reading in Peril Update #RIPXII

Readers Imbibing Peril badge
Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge (#RIPXII)

Completed
Slade House
by David Mitchell
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Something from the Nightside
by Simon Green
Lord of the Flies
by WIlliam Golding (audio)
The Premonition by Christopher Bohjalian (audio)

Still in progress
Magicians
Impossible by Brad Abraham
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King (audio)
Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Shirley Jackson

Scary Movies Watched
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (slow-paced, but chilling)

Slade House Readalong

audiobook cover image

Last month’s readalong of Slade House was organized by Andi of Estella’s Revenge.

Anyone looking for unusual, thought-provoking, often dark, fantastical literary fiction might want to check out Slade House or any of David Mitchell’s other puzzling novels, which all seem to be interconnected or tangential to each other. (The author calls the works taken together an “uber novel”. NOT a series!)

I’ve listened to some on audio (Slade House and The Bone Clocks) and read others in print. I recommend print or a combination of print and audio, because I kept wanting to flip back to early chapters while listening and that’s a pain to do with an audiobook. I’ve owned a copy of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob Zoet for several years, but just found out that it has some connection to The Bone Clocks and Slade House. It has always seemed daunting because it seems to be historical fiction and that always takes me a while to warm up to, but looking for the connections to his other novels should finally push me to tackle it!

Spoiler Alert! Don’t read these discussion questions and answers unless you don’t mind some minor spoilers!

1. Slade House is broken up into five parts and is narrated by five characters. Which one did you like best and why? 
I was rooting for the two sisters, Sally and Freya (#3 and #4), the most, but I eventually warmed up to the first two characters, too.  However, I was primed from listening to The Bone Clocks to like Dr. Iris Fenby (a.k.a. Marinus) the most, though, and vote her most likely to succeed.
2. In my opinion, this is not a traditional”scary” book. Each new guest in the house reveals more about Slade House and the Grayer twins. Did you find any of it unsettling? 
Oh, yes! Definitely unsettling and horrifying, but without the alternating suspenseful build-ups and moments of relief that you get with horror fiction.
3. This quote, discuss: “Grief is an amputation, but hope is incurable hemophilia: you bleed and bleed and bleed.”
I don’t remember where this comes in in the book or who says it. It’s a good example of the tone of the book — pointedly dark but with the possibility always there that good will win out over evil. Inside the heads of various characters at different times, readers hope each time that this character will survive the horrors of Slade House.
4. Norah and Jonah…sympathetic or nah?
Nah. Too much of a stretch to feel sympathy towards them!
5. We didn’t learn much about what Norah and Jonah do between each nine–year cycle, but we do know that they have a lot of freedom and many resources at their disposal. What would you do with a gifted existence like this one?
Nora and Jonah are immortal at the expense of other potentially immortal people, so I don’t think they can redeem themselves by doing good with their extended lives. (Not that those two “soul vampires” are interested in doing good!) I hope I would behave more selflessly than Nora and Jonah do, but having time and money to travel the world and live a multitude of different lives the way they do would be incredibly amazing. Although by the end of the book, Jonah seemed to be starting to feel that immortal life might not be worth the toll it was taking on him.
6. The ending. What did you think?
I’m waiting eagerly for the next book! I can’t wait for more about Marinus. There has to be more to the story of her/him and Nora…

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Would love to have you comment!