Brief Reaction to “Slade House”

I started David Mitchell’s latest novel Slade House last night around 21:00; I finished it this evening (29 December, when I started this) at 17:00. I’m a notoriously distractible reader, in that I’m typically reading four or five books at a time on top of the ever-expanding pile(s) of periodicals that make picking up the mail a special treat each day. [Despite the clutter — because who knows when one will need or want to reference a particular article? (And yes, I am aware of that thing called Google — I’m not that old) — I am still a devotee of periodicals in print]. If that says anything (and it may not, but nested parentheticals present too delightful an opportunity to pass up). I have to be reading at least one work of fiction, one of history, and one of philosophy/criticism at the same time. Minimum. Needless to say, Slade House completely absorbed me while perhaps shining a momentary light on the Shaded Way and Mitchell’s concept of “psychosoterica.”

If that latter term is new to you, no worries; Slade House can be read and enjoyed independent of Mitchell’s prior work The Bone Clocks with which it shares a metaphysical and, indeed, ontological universe. As has been commented in many publications, digital or otherwise, that while Slade House references many of Mitchell’s previous works and addresses head-on his obsession with the nature of time, finitude and being, it serves here as a sort of prolegomena to a larger work, of which Slade House is but a teaser, a YouTube trailer of a film or game still in post-production.

Mitchell isn’t going to show his hand, but I read this novel as a prélude to a magnum opus on the horizon; one which brings together the story of the Horologists, the Shaded Way and those “Engifted” in opposition. If there’s a writer working primarily in English in this foul year of our digital lords 2016 (close enough) who can incorporate the past, obliterate the very concept of genre while telling a crucially relevant and deeply enmeshed in local and global concerns, material, ethereal, and abstract story, it’s David Mitchell. Of those writers, Mitchell’s quiver has the most tricked-out arrows.

I may or may not return to this particular work with a more probing or incisive analysis (take your pick; both are sexual metaphors… …or can be? =P); I do, however, read this and The Bone Clocks as prefiguring something grand and ambitious to take place in this vaguely numinous lacuna to which Mitchell has led us. …to our own aperture?

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~ by Benji on 30 December 2015.

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