From the author of “Cloud Atlas” comes short, this highly imaginative and unconventional ghost story. Spanning approximately 36 years and five narrators (a miniature for this gifted writer), Slade House tells the story of a haunted house, the entrance to which appears only every five years on the last Saturday in October. The two living residents of the house lure in innocents to feast on their souls. Those lured in become paintings on the house’s walls. The novel traces five of these luring episodes during which the ghosts (for lack of a better word) of those lured in become progressively stronger and disrupt the residents’ soul feasting.
Mitchell’s particular talent is telling the same story essentially five times and having it each time be made new by the powerful voices of the separate narrators. That most narrators are the victims leaves him with the challenge of exposition, so we can better understand our villains. Occasionally, exposition becomes clunky (this is a fault not uncommon in Mitchell’s work, which is so imaginatively complex that much exposition is needed), but Mitchell rescues it in the end because his clunky exposition actually becomes part of the plot.