Book Review + Discussion: Slade House by David Mitchell



Hey guys! I’m rolling out a slew of book reviews today including samples that I’ve tried. So today we’re gonna be talking about Slade House. If I can just get out of my spring allergy’s chokehold. Okay, I’m readdyyyyyy. Some light spoilers ahead. 

Book Rating:  ✭ ✭ ✭ 

The book started off kind of slow for me. I liked the writing style and the eerie atmosphere right off the bat, but it was just too slow for me. It took a while to get through The Right Sort chapter. But that’s probably because I’m an American reader. And I’m not used to some of the British references that were made. The book started picking up momentum though when Detective Inspector Gordon was introduced. I enjoyed the Shining Armour chapter quite a lot. Not because of the racy, sensual parts, but because of the symbolism that went with it. You know the classic, it-fucks-with-your-head kind of thing, where you think “Is this character really getting laid, or is something horrible really happening?” and you just can’t wait to find out what’s really going on under the promiscuous pretense.

 I also really liked Oink Oink except for that Filipino maid part. I thought that was unnecessary. Like if you had to put a Filipino character, why can’t you pick a better representation of us, like a nurse in the health field? The MC during this short story stayed in psychiatric wards and the hospital a lot for her mental health issues, so why couldn’t there have been a mention of a Filipino nurse there instead? That’s such a wasted opportunity to show that you’re not racist or xenophobic. I don’t really like the tone of how the author kinda simps for typical pale-skinned Orientals. For example, mentioning a fabricated Japanese high-end luxury brand (Zizzi Hikaru?) and a fox hairpin as a weapon, but other Asian groups (especially darker-skinned Asians) are looked down upon? I almost quit reading the book after that brief dialogue at the Fox and Hound pub. That’s a big complaint from me. Oh, and what's so funny about that small scene, is that the author thought he was flexing by using the politically correct term, "Filipina" when really it doesn't matter between male and female. Ask any Filipino friend you know. We'll all just say "I'm Filipino" regardless of what gender they want to be perceived as. Imagine if you take this out of context, it's just plain rude and tactless. And he wouldn't have been able to get away with this if he was making a slavery reference. Imagine if the scene said, "Oh they're not called slaves. They're imported African Americans to be correct." The whole time I was reading that part, I was just rolling my eyes. Because the author was arrogant enough to think that being politically correct will save his ass. But I felt the need to complete the book because I already invested so much time in it, and I was already halfway through it. I did like the Halloween party scene, and how different alluring traps are made for each new visitor that stumbles upon the Slade House.

 Anyway, I also really enjoyed You Dark Horse You and Astronaut. At this point, I can understand why this book had such mixed reviews. Because while the writing style and story concept are quite fantastic (soul carnivores and horologists), there are just careless comments that I don’t care very much for (like the one I mentioned earlier). I was planning on reading The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas next but after getting a sample of the author’s view, hmmm, I’m not so sure. 

The cover is definitely what drew me into reading it in the first place. And I think I just like any horror genre with this kind of formula: horror + architecture + eerie atmosphere. The way Mitchell writes also reminds me of Murakami (if only Murakami would try his hand at horror), and that’s also part of the reason why I continued reading. 

And yes, the hero of the last chapter, Marinus, (she’s actually my favorite character right next to Norah Grayer) is an awesome black woman on the side of good, (the author can’t possibly be racist now) that stopped the horrible twins, but at best it kinda felt performative. I’ve noticed that in other works too, or just life in general. With the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM),  mostly everyone wants to uplift Black voices and Black narratives on the surface, but I noticed that our white counterparts would end up taking their racism out on other POC, which is just ridiculous and frustrating, to be honest. They would end up being horrible to other people with pigmentation on their skin because they can’t do it to black people anymore otherwise they’d get called out on it.

 Anyway, the whole point of this rant is that it’s such a shame that the author writes well, but I’m just gonna have to find another horror writer that’s not problematic for me. And unfortunately, I can’t include Stephen King on that list either because he was horrible to us Texans (most who voted Democrats, larger by count than his home state) during the winter storm of 2021. Let me know if you guys know any horror writers (Indie or Traditional, doesn’t matter) that you like and recommend. The rating stays at four because everything held up above water, but I don't think I can ever call this author my favorite author, even if their writing is pretty.

Edit: I know I've been reading Lovecraft's work which I know kinda feels like I'm contradicting what I just said in the earlier paragraph, but let me explain. I am also reading Poe's writing as well because I'm studying how classic horror works. I also learned that towards the end of Lovecraft's life, he did start to regret how he hated everyone (including white people - I forgot the title of the short story but it's the one with the old man who was a cannibal and lived in the remote parts of the woods). I know it's not enough to feel remorse for some people, and maybe it's easier to be less judgemental of the dead because they can no longer do active damage per se. But that is the only reason why you can see from my GoodReads that I've been switching between Lovecraft and Poe when it comes to consuming horror (just to study the structure and archetype of horror) and it's not because my values are necessarily aligned with the author's values. 

 I’ll talk to you all later. Take care xx 


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