It’s hard to know quite what to make of Slade House, David Mitchell’s latest novel [London: Sceptre, 2015]. It seems to be not so much a sequel as a ‘parallelequel’ to The Bone Clocks and there is, in fact, one key character in common. The context is the battle between those who can sustain immortality at the expense of feeding on the souls of the Engifted and the good guys who are naturally and continuously reincarnated after 49 days in limbo. The latter, the Horologists, carry over all their memories from previous existences but although they have paranormal powers they are not necessarily immune to attack and destruction by the bad guys. Slade House is about the activities of a couple of bad guys until they seem to get their comeuppance at the hands of a good guy. But read to the very end!
Let me not give the impression that this is the adult equivalent of Harry Potter (those extremely well-written literary fictions for the younger reader that adults have enjoyed so much). Nor is Mitchell the same type of writer as Vonnegut or Philip K Dick, whose Slaughterhouse 5 and The Man in the High Castle are fiction based on fantasic premisses. Mitchell seems, in his own terms, to be writing his ϋber-novel; in other words he is regularly revisiting his personal fictional world and drawing up fresh inspiration with which to entertain us. I rate him as one of the best literary fiction writers around today and will look out for his next book. If he keeps me waiting too long I might well re-read several of his earlier works of which my favourite is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.