Slade House by David Mitchell
A Novel

72%

60 Critic Reviews

The less you know about that going in the better, because all the joy in Slade House is in the discovery. It's in seeing different people make the same mistakes over and over again — in seeing the same story play out...
-NPR

Synopsis

The New York Times bestseller by the author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Named One of the Best Books of the Year by San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, National Post, BookPage, and Kirkus Reviews

Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . .

Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

Praise for Slade House

“A fiendish delight . . . Mitchell is something of a magician.”—The Washington Post

“Entertainingly eerie . . . We turn to [Mitchell] for brain-tickling puzzle palaces, for character studies and for language.”—Chicago Tribune

“A ripping yarn . . . Like Shirley Jackson’s Hill House or the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining, [Slade House] is a thin sliver of hell designed to entrap the unwary. . . . As the Mitchellverse grows ever more expansive and connected, this short but powerful novel hints at still more marvels to come.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Like Stephen King in a fever . . . manically ingenious.”—The Guardian (U.K.)

“A haunted house story that savors of Dickens, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling and H. P. Lovecraft, but possesses more psychic voltage than any of them.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Tightly crafted and suspenseful yet warmly human . . . the ultimate spooky nursery tale for adults.”—The Huffington Post
 

About David Mitchell

See more books from this Author
David Mitchell is the author of the international bestseller The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, named a best book of the year by Time, The Washington Post, Financial Times, The New Yorker, The Globe and Mail, and The New York Times; Black Swan Green, which was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by Time; Cloud Atlas, which was a Man Booker Prize finalist; Number9Dream, which was short-listed for the Man Booker as well as the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; and Ghostwritten, awarded the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for best book by a writer under thirty-five and short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. Hailed as "the novelist who's shown us fiction's future" by The Washington Post, Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.
 
Published October 27, 2015 by Random House. 241 pages
Genres: Horror, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Nov 15 2015
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Critic reviews for Slade House
All: 60 | Positive: 44 | Negative: 16

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Anonymoua on Jul 30 2015

Though there’s something of an inside joke happening on every page, Mitchell serves up a story that wouldn’t be out of place alongside The Turn of the Screw. Ingenious, scary, and downright weird.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Jul 10 2015

The high degree of self-reference—and the skipping through genre and time—is trademark Mitchell, but the constant rehashing of what is already a pretty thin plot means that this offering fails to really stand up on its own, or to add anything new to the Mitchell-verse.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Jul 10 2015

The high degree of self-reference—and the skipping through genre and time—is trademark Mitchell, but the constant rehashing of what is already a pretty thin plot means that this offering fails to really stand up on its own, or to add anything new to the Mitchell-verse.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Scarlett Thomas on Nov 11 2015

Not everyone will want answers to all these questions, and reading doesn’t always have to be a grand excavation. Mitchell is as compulsive as ever, and even if you end up flinging his latest at the wall, you will have a good time first. Just don’t expect it to make any sense.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Oct 22 2015

The biggest drawback of “Slade House” might that it simply isn’t very scary. These characters aren’t alive enough for us to fear for them when they’re in peril. With the possible exception of Sally Timms, we’re not invested in them.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Alison Flood on Nov 01 2015

...there’s a tendency to veer into too much detail – even for a reader who loves this sort of thing. But for all that, Slade House is still one of the most enjoyably, deliriously frightening novels I’ve read in ages.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Liz Jensen on Oct 29 2015

Now, in a fresh riff on an old theme, the writer parodies his phantoms. Faustian pacts, shape-shifters, “psychovoltage”, soul-theft, reality bubbles, a liquid called banjax (a name almost as cheesy as Avatar’s Unobtanium), and characters who say, “I’d lay off the particle physics, doc, if I were you”: they’re all at the fun‑house party...

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NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Suad Khatab Ali on Oct 26 2015

Slade House also smacks of an editor who can’t, or won’t, say no. Hopefully, this slim, spectral work isn’t a sign that Mitchell has run out of ideas, or of artful ways to harness them.

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NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Jason Sheehan on Oct 28 2015

The less you know about that going in the better, because all the joy in Slade House is in the discovery. It's in seeing different people make the same mistakes over and over again — in seeing the same story play out...

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on Oct 23 2015

His latest pulls off that trick again, and in doing so manages to be both dazzlingly inventive and compulsively readable.

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Amanda Craig on Oct 25 2015

Given that Cloud Atlas was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and that Mitchell is widely regarded as a formidably talented literary writer, it is disappointing to find that the haunted house that he has created is less of a mansion and more of a cottage.

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The Independent

Good
Reviewed by Boyd Tonkin on Oct 15 2015

Mitchell’s zestful, joyous recreation of the minutiae of everyday life has a redemptive role. Against the accursed privilege of the immortals, he helps us love the time that dooms us.

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The Maine Edge

Good
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Oct 28 2015

“Slade House” might not feature a lot of big scares (though there are a few incredibly intense moments), but there are small ones on every page. Those frights add to and accentuate one another, building to crescendos whose subtleties contribute mightily to their power.

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The Bookbag

Excellent
Reviewed by Ani Johnson on Oct 01 2015

For me, Slade House reinforces David Mitchell's reputation as an everyman's non-high-falluting storyteller who has also been accepted into the world of highly esteemed literature.

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Huffington Post

Good
Reviewed by Claire Fallon on Oct 23 2015

For Mitchell fans, of course, Slade House will satisfy the craving for a more focused dive into the realm of The Shaded Way and psychosoterica, while for new readers it’s a relatively low-impact introduction to Mitchell’s many-doored alternative universe.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg on Nov 01 2015

“Tonight feels like a board game co-designed by M.C. Escher on a bender and Stephen King in a fever,” one character muses. That sly description offers an apt summary of a work that almost demands to be read in a single sitting. Just be sure to leave the lights on when you do.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Good
Reviewed by Susan Balee on Oct 25 2015

Read this little yellow book and you’ll have a fun introduction to not only “The Bone Clocks,” but Mr. Mitchell’s other work.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Above average
Reviewed by James Bradley on Jan 14 2016

Even if Slade House lacks the absorbing complexity and emotional depth of Mitchell's longer works, there's no denying the pleasure associated with watching its author unspool his narrative, or the expansiveness of the sympathy he extends to his wounded, awkward, engagingly flawed characters.

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PopMatters

Above average
Reviewed by John L. Murphy on Oct 19 2015

While I enjoy Mitchell’s novels, I keep having the nagging sense that, with his talent, he could do more with it to dazzle us than he has already. I feel this more strongly, after finishing Slade House.

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Independent.ie

Below average
Reviewed by Darragh McManus on Nov 09 2015

It's also pretty clunky in places, especially the "info dump" parts...Hopefully this is the end of Mitchell's dalliance with soul-sucking immortals, and he'll return to more grown-up themes… and the superb standards he's set himself.

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Chron.com

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Magras on Nov 01 2015

Mitchell’s refusal to behave himself has given us some of the most complex, rewarding fiction of the past 20 years. When you settle in with a Mitchell novel, you know you’re going to have to do some work.

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Scotsman.com

Good
Reviewed by Stuart Kelly on Oct 25 2015

Slade House is nasty, sinister, cruel and shocking, and I mean every one of those adjectives as a wholehearted compliment. It is a novel that does what only the horror novel can do exceptionally: make the reader feel unsafe.

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Scotsman.com

Good
Reviewed by Stuart Kelly on Oct 25 2015

Slade House is nasty, sinister, cruel and shocking, and I mean every one of those adjectives as a wholehearted compliment. It is a novel that does what only the horror novel can do exceptionally: make the reader feel unsafe.

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Journal Sentinel

Good
Reviewed by Mike Fischer on Oct 23 2015

We read fiction because we believe such choices actually matter. If you haven't yet read Mitchell, choosing this novel just might make a believer of you.

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Irish Times

Good
Reviewed by JOHN BOYNE on Oct 31 2015

There’s a reason why David Mitchell is the most consistently praised novelist of his generation. His work manages to beguile, impress and delight in equal parts. His books are intricately plotted, mutually interwoven and, as his writing has matured so has his major theme, the question of what happens to the soul after death...

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London Evening Standard

Above average
Reviewed by Andrew Neather on Oct 29 2015

Perhaps for this reason, Slade House is not, in truth, very scary, even though Mitchell pointedly publishes this haunted-house tale for Halloween 2015...Yet Mitchell’s prose remains precise and grounded, as do most of his characters.

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Paste

Good
Reviewed by Mark Eleveld on Oct 29 2015

Mitchell regularly asks a lot of his readers, who anticipate his mammoth, circular, mind-blowing, time bending, revelatory new universes of everyday blokes in crazy peril. For Mitchell fans, however, this read is easy and enjoyable.

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New Statesman

Above average
Reviewed by RANDY BOYAGODA on Nov 02 2015

To offer anything more than these details would neutralise the novel’s frequently terrifying and flat-out exciting elements, of which there are many – perhaps even a few too many for readers expecting more than fantasy-fiction dramatics and dork gravitas from the great David Mitchell.

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South China Morning Post

Good
on Nov 03 2015

We read fiction because we believe such choices actually matter. If you haven't yet read Mitchell, choosing this novel just might make a believer of you.

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The Australian

Below average
Reviewed by ADRIAN MCKINTY on Nov 07 2015

Perhaps the time has come for Mitchell’s editor to invite him in for a chat about his future. He needs to be firmly guided away from the baleful influence of Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett and Michael Moorcock and back on to the straight and narrow of sophisticated, psychologically penetrating English literature.

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Stuff

Good
Reviewed by PHILIP MATTHEWS on Oct 29 2015

As you read this, the action is unfolding. Has an author ever timed a book so cleverly before? Mitchell is a control freak but a benign and generous one. He is also very skilled at writing from the perspective of children and young people; there is still something innocent and childlike about him.

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Strange Horizons

Above average
Reviewed by Dan Hartland on Oct 26 2015

Mitchell is, then, still struggling to square his own circles. Generic markers are tricky things to break down, and the fact that Mitchell has made them even as fluid as he has is a marvel.

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The Hindu

Above average
Reviewed by SWATI DAFTUAR on Nov 17 2016

The funny thing about Slade House is how funny it is — not a big bag of laughs, of course, but a generous dose of nervous but appreciative chortles. In part, a kind of dry wit, in part, a tongue-in-cheek parody rife with numerous pop culture references...

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Slant Magazine

Below average
Reviewed by MANUEL BETANCOURT on Sep 03 2015

For those coming in cold, the recursive tales in and of Slade House, may prove to be a pleasant, if slight, experience.

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Fiction Reviews

Above average
on Nov 17 2016

You might think this is all a bit samey, here comes the next victim of Slade House and those who live there, who are able to manipulate space and time for their own horrible end, but Mitchell’s skill is in his characterisation and the fact, that even in the case of the dreadful Edmonds, we care about these people...

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IFp

Good
Reviewed by Nancy Schiefer on Dec 12 2015

The suspense is chilling, the horror palpable and the shudders real as a clever and talented writer takes readers on another nightmarish ride.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Nov 19 2015

Readers must pay careful attention to Mitchell’s explanations for this and other unfamiliar concepts such as the “lacuna,” the “orison,” the “operandi.” If not, the narrative will just fall apart. That would be a pity. This is a work which leaves a powerful trace of feeling in its wake...

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Readings

Above average
Reviewed by Deborah Crabtree on Nov 19 2016

Mitchell writes well, and apart from a couple of clunky moments of exposition-heavy dialogue this weird and imaginative tale is compelling.

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https://www.bostonglobe.com

Below average
Reviewed by Clea Simon on Oct 30 2015

“Slade House” is less a novel than a chapter in Mitchell’s ongoing saga about the battle between the Horologists and the evil Atemporals, as the inhabitants of Slade House are revealed to be. But by ignoring his mortal characters, he risks losing his flesh-and-blood audience and possibly his own soul.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com

Good
Reviewed by Ron Charles on Oct 15 2015

Fans of Mitchell’s previous novels will enjoy the usual sprinkling of allusions and echoes, particularly a familiar character who wants to put a stop to these two “soul vampires,” but it won’t be easy. It may not even be possible.

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Raging Biblioholism

Good
Reviewed by Drew on Oct 19 2015

Mitchell captures the October spirit while retaining the universe he’s been building for so long and his skill with breath-taking, gasp-inducing moments of thrilling fright is just another to add to his impossible array of talents.

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Lit Stack

Good
Reviewed by Sharon Browning on Dec 07 2015

Chilling – and entertaining. We as readers are safe in our own homes, in our own familiar lives; but if you ever find yourself in a place where your senses whisper that something is wrong even as they respond to it beckoning you onward, think of Slade House.

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Popcorn Reads

Good
Reviewed by MK on Dec 09 2015

It still haunts me when I think about it...If you like novels that are scary to the max, then I recommend Slade House to you. Enjoy your chilling, eerie read!

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She Treads Softly Blog

Below average
Reviewed by Lori L. on Oct 24 2015

It's probably best to read Slade House without too much information on the actual plot. It held my rapt attention from beginning to end, but it did seem like it could have used a few more stories.

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https://lareviewofbooks.org

Above average
Reviewed by Brian Finney on Dec 05 2015

It is the human in his work that makes those of us who enjoy his fantastic fictions swallow the fantasy willingly. Those who choke on his fictional use of the fantastic will continue to dismiss his work...

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Book Hooked Blog

Above average
Reviewed by Julie G on Jan 15 2016

I'm glad I picked it up and recommend it to fans of literary horror and those who just enjoy a good dose of weird.

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Bite the Book

Good
on Aug 17 2015

Slade House is both a classic ghost story and a reinterpretation for the 21st century. Firmly set within the David Mitchell universe fans will love spotting all the different connections and there is even a hint of where David Mitchell will go next.

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The Bluestocking Society

Good
Reviewed by Jessica Anderson on Oct 27 2015

It’s spooky and chilling. David Mitchell is so good at drawing believable and distinct characters, as well as driving the plot relentlessly forward. I would definitely recommend this book.

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https://litreactor.com

Good
Reviewed by CHRIS ROSALES on Nov 09 2015

In the end the writing is so imaginative, and so multi-layered, it seems impossible that Mitchell can keep us immersed without drowning us. But he does.

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The Speculative Scotsman

Excellent
Reviewed by Niall Alexander on Nov 06 2015

Rich in resonance and delicately textured, it boasts a satisfying narrative which comes together incredibly despite the drastic differences between one section and the next, a masterfully imagined setting and a cast of remarkably realised characters...

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scott william foley

Good
Reviewed by Scott William Foley on Nov 01 2015

Though a quick read, Slade House forces us to dive deeply into the lives of doomed characters, characters connected from one decade to the next, characters with no hope against the monsters hunting them. But, as you well know, monsters always have hunters of their own, and I believe the reader will be satisfied by this tale’s conclusion.

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http://www.seattletimes.com

Below average
Reviewed by David Laskin on Nov 15 2015

...“Slade House”, like “The Bone Clocks” puts that brilliance at the service of something trite, simplistic and ultimately rather dull. The sooner Mitchell gets this soul-sucking mumbo-jumbo out of his system and moves on, the better.

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https://thebookstop.wordpress.com

Excellent
Reviewed by curlygeek04 on Oct 23 2015

If you loved The Bone Clocks, or if you love a good haunted house story, this is a short read that may keep you up at night. Highly recommended.

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A Book a Week

Good
on Oct 26 2015

Slade House comfortably succeeds as an intelligent and terrifying page-turner that brilliantly showcases the proficiency of its visionary creator.

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Pingwings Bookshelf

Good
Reviewed by Pingwing on Nov 27 2015

The writing was great, and there were some creepy moments (although I wouldn’t call this a scary book, so don’t be put off if you’re interested in Slade House but worried it will be too scary). Recommended!

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SF Fantasy

Above average
Reviewed by KYLE DEAS on Nov 24 2015

Mitchell is a little over-invested in his shared universe, in a way that weakens the ultimate impact of Slade House. But it’s hard to begrudge Mitchell his indulgences when the end result is so much fun.

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https://leeswammes.wordpress.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Leeswammes on Jan 16 2016

A real page turner. With, as we are used to with Mitchell, references to other books by this author. Some are rather subtle, and I am bound to have missed a few. But a Dr. Marinus? Ah, yes! The ending was surprising, in a good way.

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More 2 Read

Good
Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on Oct 26 2015

He has you in this mysteriously haunting tale well and the sentences, the style, suits something just right...please more sir.

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Books and Quilts

Good
Reviewed by Heather on Oct 22 2015

I'd put the book down to regain my equilibrium, and then almost instantly I'd pick it up again and continue reading. I had to know what would happen next. A very enjoyable though creepy read.

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https://undermyappletree.net

Good
Reviewed by Leslie on Feb 11 2016

Creepy but not too scary, I would describe this as a literary horror story and a great introduction to the world of The Bone Clocks.

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Deborah Anne Atwood 3 Dec 2015

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