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2016 Book Discussions > Slade House - 2006 & Whole Book, Spoilers Allowed (March 2016)

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message 1: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments It seems most readers who have been commenting are ready to talk about the final chapter and the book as a whole. This chapter is different in that it is narrated by Norah and not by a victim (or is she the victim?). It was hard not to recognize the connection to the Bone Clocks here when Marinus shows up and, at least for me, knowing that made me somewhat confident that the twins would fail, however, I must admit that I remained "worried" until the end. And, for me, the ending seems to promise more of Norah (and Marinus) in future books. I'm interested in everyone's reactions to the end. Also, for those who have read other Mitchell books, whether Mitchell's concept of his ubernovel makes more sense after this entry. Fire away ......


message 2: by Veronique (last edited Mar 04, 2016 06:20AM) (new)

Veronique Linda wrote: "It was hard not to recognize the connection to the Bone Clocks here when Marinus shows up and, at least for me, knowing that made me somewhat confident that the twins would fail, however, I must admit that I remained "worried" until the end..."

Since I haven't read any of Mitchell's books, I didn't know about Marinus but I was expecting something to happen since this was the last episode. What struck me was the name Bombadil (author definitely likes his LOTR - so do I) and as you say Norah as the narrator. I guess she does become the victim, or rather meets her match. It was great to see their demise, but the creepiest thing was Norah taking refuge in an unborn child (eek!!).

I really did enjoy this book with the mixing of genres and literary allusions. Thinking about the Grayers however, their extended 'life' was really not that great. They could only inhabit other people, their physical bodies locked forever in the lacuna. This is maybe why they lost touch with reality, and why they became so complacent, resulting in their 'deaths'. Mind you, now I'm thinking of David Levithan's excellent Every Day, but his narrator, although in a similar situation, is completely different and very much in touch with humanity.

I guess Mitchell was referring to the twins' state, neither dead or alive, with the multitude of references to the colour grey, and the many symbolic items. Personally, I liked all these elements but I can see how this would not be to everyone's taste. I'm also trying to compare this tale with the 'classics' of the genre, such as the ghost stories of Susan Hill and M.R. James (both amazing). Has anyone read any of these, and how do you think Slade House measures up?


message 3: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments Veronique wrote: "I guess Mitchell was referring to the twins' state, neither dead or alive, with the multitude of references to the colour grey, and the many symbolic items. Personally, I liked all these elements but I can see how this would not be to everyone's taste. I'm also trying to compare this tale with the 'classics' of the genre, such as the ghost stories of Susan Hill and M.R. James (both amazing). Has anyone read any of these, and how do you think Slade House measures up?"

I am unfamiliar with either Susan Hill or M.R. James, perhaps because they are Brits and not promoted to any degree here in the former colonies. I see they wrote "ghost stories." Edgar Allan Poe is probably the closest to a ghost story author that I've ever read and Slade House did not bring him to mind. I haven't read it in a few years, but I still remember how scary I thought Poe's story "The Tell-Tale Heart" was the first time I read it. Just thinking about it makes me shiver!


message 4: by Molly (new)

Molly (mollyrotondo) | 30 comments Linda wrote: "It seems most readers who have been commenting are ready to talk about the final chapter and the book as a whole. This chapter is different in that it is narrated by Norah and not by a victim (or i..."

I have not read any other Mitchell novels, including Bone Clocks. Who is Marinus in that story? Is she a major character? Is she a Horologist in that book as well?


message 5: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments Molly, Marinus is a he for most of the time in The Bone Clocks. Horologists have a rather large role in The Bone Clocks. If you liked Slade House, and have some time, you might like The Bone Clocks. It is a "big" book.


message 6: by Veronique (new)

Veronique Linda wrote: "I am unfamiliar with either Susan Hill or M.R. James, perhaps because they are Brits and not promoted to any degree here in the former colonies. I see they wrote "ghost stories." Edgar Allan Poe is probably the closest to a ghost story author that I've ever read and Slade House did not bring him to mind. I haven't read it in a few years, but I still remember how scary I thought Poe's story "The Tell-Tale Heart" was the first time I read it. Just thinking about it makes me shiver!..."

Sorry about that. Susan Hill is famous for The Woman in Black and MR James was her inspirations. I do like Poe too and he is great at giving that feeling of unease :O)


message 7: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
In the case of Slade House, I think previously reading the Bone Clocks made a huge difference to the reading. Once Marinus / Iris shows up, there's not much tension as you know she's going to emerge victorious. I found her introduction a huge let down for that reason.

In a previous thread Molly wrote "I think it's an interesting plot development if these victims rise up and put an end to the twins instead of waiting for someone on the outside to help." I'd agree. I was enjoying how the previous victims were helping each other in increments to defeat the twins, then that was largely abandoned with Marius, who was a little too Deus Ex Machina for my tastes. Her smug superiority that almost matched that of the twins, was annoying, and her near superpowers in defeating them boring. It didn't help that this chapter was the weakest reading in the audiobook as well.

Up to that point, I was really liking the book with the elaborately created worlds, the cat and mouse games that the twins were playing, and the truly horrific denouements of the first four sections.


message 8: by Molly (new)

Molly (mollyrotondo) | 30 comments Whitney wrote: "In the case of Slade House, I think previously reading the Bone Clocks made a huge difference to the reading. Once Marinus / Iris shows up, there's not much tension as you know she's going to emerg..."

I agree, Whitney. I have not read the Bone Clocks so to me the introduction of Marinus felt very random. It wasn't until after I read everyone's comments on here that I came to understand that she played this Horologist role in his other work. To someone not caught up with his über novel this section just seems random and a little anticlimactic. I enjoyed this story overall but wish I was invested in his other works beforehand.


message 9: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 397 comments I quite enjoyed this novelette and read it at work on one of those slow days with a lot of downtime :-)

I am with Molly - the book might have been a little bit more meaningful for me if I had read The Bone Clock, but even without it, I still found it enjoyable, atmospheric, and intriguing. It was obviously predictable - there was a pattern in the story, but the key moments of transformation and revelation for victims were very other-worldly and captivating.


message 10: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments I agree with Whitney, that the last chapter, if you've read The Bone Clocks, changes your mind set. While I was pretty sure Marinus was going to prevail, victory did not come easily and I was a bit anxious, but differently than with Sally and her sister. It was almost like an epilogue and telegraphed that we'd be seeing Norah again.


message 11: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments Whitney wrote: "In a previous thread Molly wrote "I think it's an interesting plot development if these victims rise up and put an end to the twins instead of waiting for someone on the outside to help." I'd agree. I was enjoying how the previous victims were helping each other in increments to defeat the twins, then that was largely abandoned with Marius, who was a little too Deus Ex Machina for my tastes. Her smug superiority that almost matched that of the twins, was annoying, and her near superpowers in defeating them boring."

I agree that Molly's way would have made for a better ending. Why do you think Mitchell chose the way he did? It was the most blatant example of a spillover from one of his other books. I rather liked the less overt way he has used in prior works, which did not detract from the style of those works.


message 12: by Molly (new)

Molly (mollyrotondo) | 30 comments Linda wrote: "Whitney wrote: "In a previous thread Molly wrote "I think it's an interesting plot development if these victims rise up and put an end to the twins instead of waiting for someone on the outside to ..."

The only reason I can think of for why Mitchell chose to end the book this way would be that he's planning on creating a larger work from this story. Even though I didn't read Bone Clocks, it appears to be a much longer novel that Slade House. Maybe Slade House is meant to carry us into a bigger story about these characters. I don't want to think that he just threw Marinus into the conclusion just to make a connection to his other book.


message 13: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments Molly wrote: "Linda wrote: "Whitney wrote: "In a previous thread Molly wrote "I think it's an interesting plot development if these victims rise up and put an end to the twins instead of waiting for someone on t..."

I read somewhere (cannot find now) that there will be a third book that will fit with The Bone Clocks and Slade House. Since both books ended leaving an avenue to a follow-up (but Slade House is not the natural follow-up to the Bone Clocks ; it is more like a parallel universe of less complexity.) Using Marinus in Slade House was certainly a way to connect the two and Marinus has appeared as a character in other Mitchell works (ex. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet).


message 14: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catjackson) I finished a couple of days ago and have to say I didn't find the ending that bad. I haven't read anything else of Mitchell's so don't have any of the references in my head. There was a bit of foreshadowing of a "rescuer" when we are introduced to the club of university students. That section, to me, indicated that there was a group of people who were, perhaps, fighting against the twins. The ending was a bit more logical to me.


message 15: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments Hi Catherine, glad you liked it the book!

I did not read the discussion among the college students as foreshadowing of a rescuer but just as the reintroduction of Pink, who was ultimately was used by the twins to trap Sally's sister. Perhaps that's part of the difference between those who have read The Bone Clocks and those who haven't. Would you mind explaining why you describe the ending as "logical?"


message 16: by Teanka (new)

Teanka | 36 comments This was the first book by Mitchell that I have read, and I'm not very keen on reading his other books at this point, even though I do understand that it's different to his other books at least in terms of length. It was, at least to me, very much a horror story, and I'm not particularly fond of that genre. The book was well written, but after the first episode it became very predictable in terms of what would happen with the subsequent characters (they had to lose their lives and souls, if only because the parts of the books took place every 9 years). Hmm, I don't think that's a valid argument, but for me the story, instead of being creepy, seemed slightly boring. Probably just not my cup of tea.


message 17: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments Teanka, Don't judge Mitchell by this book alone. It is very different from his other books. To date, my favorite has been Ghostwritten.


message 18: by Hugh (last edited Dec 14, 2016 04:57AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2593 comments Mod
Just catching up with this discussion, as I have been reading Slade House this week. The first couple of chapters weren't too bad, but my feelings about it got more and more negative the further I got into the book, and by the end I had decided it was not only by far Mitchell's least interesting book but probably the least satisfying book I have read all year. All of the worst things about The Bone Clocks are here in spades and there were much fewer redeeming features.
Still, that's just my personal opinion - I second Linda's choice of Ghostwritten as Mitchell's best book, with Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green pretty close behind. I liked quite a lot of The Thousand Autumns and the Bone Clocks too, but I just can't take Mitchell's fantasy world seriously enough for it to interest me...


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