Slade House by David Mitchell


Dad puts his arm around Joy’s waist. “Try the coffee first. It’ll make a man of you.” I lift the mug and peer down. Inside’s black as oil, as holes in space, as Bibles.

“Violet ground the beans just now,” says Joy.

“God’s own coffee,” says Dad. “Drink up now, matey.”

Some stupid part of me says, No, don’t, you mustn’t.

“Your mother’ll never know,” says Dad. “Our little secret.”

The mug’s so wide it covers my nose like a gas mask.

The mug’s so wide it covers my eyes, my whole head.

Then whatever’s in there starts gulping me down. (p. 31)


There’s a labyrinthine path inside this novel, a mesmerizing collection of words. While writers, such as Anthony Doerr and Adam Johnson, who tout its worth say they read it in one night, I must take my time. I want to dwell in Slade House,  absorb every bit of its atmosphere, every nuance and shadow held in wait for me at each corner.

Thank you, Sylvie, for this recommendation.