Mots-clés

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david-mitchell-slade-houseLes premières phrases

«  Whatever Mum’s saying’s drowned out by the grimy roar of the bus pulling away, revealing a pub called The Fox and Hounds. The sign shows three beagles cornering a fox. They’re about to pounce and rip it apart. A street sign underneath says WESTWOOD ROAD. Lords and ladies are supposed to be rich, so I was expecting swimming pools and Lamborghinis, but Westwood Road looks pretty normal to me. Normal brick houses, detached or semi-detached, with little front gardens and normal cars. The damp sky’s the colour of old hankies. Seven magpies fly by. Seven’s good. Mum’s face is inches away from mine, though I’m not sure if that’s an anrgy face or a worried one. « Nathan? Are you even listening? » Mum’s wearing make-up today. That shade of lipstick’s called Morning Lilac but it smells more like Pritt Stick than lilacs. Mum’s face hasn’t gone away, so I say, « What? »

« It’s « Pardon », or « Excuse me ». Not « What? » »

« Okay, » I say, which often does the trick.

Not today. « Did you hear what I told you? »

« It’s « Pardon » or « Excuse me ». Not « What? » »

« Before that! I said, if anyone at Lady Grayer’s asks how we came here, you’re to tell them we arrived by taxi. »

« I thought lying was wrong ».

« There’s lying, » says Mum, fishing out the enveloppe she wrote the directions on from her handbag, « which is wrong, and there’s creating the right impression, which is necessary. If your father paid what he’s supposed to pay, we really would have arrived by taxi. Now… » Mum squints at her writing. « Slade Alley leads off Westwood Road, about halfway down… » She checks her watch. « Right, it’s ten to three, and we’re due at three. Chop chop. Don’t dawdle. » Off Mum walks.  »

Circonstances de lecture

Encore une fois attirée par la couverture…

Impressions

« Slade House » est un conte horrifique aux allures de conte de fées, digne d’un roman de Stephen King. Après le génial « Cloud Atlas », David Mitchell part donc sur un tout autre style d’histoire. Tous les neuf ans, une maison (Slade House) attire à elle une personne (un enfant, un policier…). Chaque chapitre du livre nous parle ainsi de ce qui est arrivé à cette personne et nous fait voyager de 1979 à 2015. A chaque visite, on en apprend un peu plus sur la maison et ce qui pousse les « invités » à y pénétrer. J’ai dévoré ce livre ! Je le recommande vivement !

Un passage parmi d’autres

 I’ve stopped, because the far end of the garden, the wall with the small black door – it’s gone all faint and dim. Not because of evening. It can’t even be four o’clock yet. Not because it’s misty, either. I look up – the sky’s still bluish, like it was before. It’s the garden itself. The garden’s fading away.

I turn around to tell Jonah to stop the game, something’s wrong, we need a grown-up. Any second now he’ll come hurtling round the far corner. The brambles sway like underwater tentacles. I glance back at the garden. There was a sundial but it’s gone now, and the damson trees too. Am I going blind? I want Dad to tell me it’s fine, I’m not going blind, but Dad’s in Rhodesia, so I want Mum. Where’s Jonah? What if this dissolving’s got him too? Now the lattice tunnel thing’s erased. What do you do when you’re visiting someone’s house and their garden starts vanishing?

David Mitchell – Slade House – 2015 (Sceptre)

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