British Fiction Focus

David Mitchell Reprises “The Right Sort”

I’ve spent a lot of my life waiting for new books by David Mitchell. The man might well be one of the best and brightest writers of fiction in Britain, but alas, for he’s far from fast.

Though his first few books came out in relatively quick succession, there were four years between the release of Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, and another four between that latter and last year’s The Bone Clocks. To wit, till this morning, I wouldn’t have expected its successor to see store shelves until 2018 at least—nor, it seems, would Carole Welch, the publishing director of Spectre.

It was a very welcome surprise to learn that David’s short story had grown into a bigger project, just when we’d resigned ourselves to waiting a few years before being able to read the successor to The Bone Clocks.

The short story referenced by Welch is ‘The Right Sort,’ a tall tale told in its entirety on Twitter in the run-up to the release of The Bone Clocks, and discussed in detail in this edition of the Short Fiction Spotlight. It didn’t have as much to do with Mitchell’s magnum opus as I imagined it might at the time, but ‘The Right Sort’ was a bloody good read regardless.

Said story won’t be in Mitchell’s surprise new novel, but The Bookseller reports that ‘The Right Sort’ was “the starting point” of Slade House:

Slade House is on a shorter scale than [Mitchell’s] major novels, but is every bit as enthralling and inventive: a taut, spine-chilling, intricately woven, reality-warping tale that begins in 1979 and comes to its electrifying conclusion on October 31st, 2015.

Why, that’s this year! And we don’t even have to wait that long! Which makes me a happy, happy chappy!

Carole Welch again:

This is a perfect book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night, which we plan to publish as a beautiful, illustrated hardback in time for Halloween and for the Christmas market. And Mitchell aficionados will be interested to know that it features a character who might be a shade familiar from The Bone Clocks.

Slade House is currently pencilled in for publication in the UK on October 27.

Squee with me?


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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