By Matt Haig
(Free Press, Paperback, 9781451610338, 400pp.)
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
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Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.
One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking—and disturbingly satisfying—act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies. A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unknown to the general public. And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara’s trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radleys’ marriage.
The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love. Read it and ask what we grow into when we grow up, and what we gain—and lose—when we deny our appetites.
Matt Haig is the bestselling author of several children’s books and novels, including The Last Family in England, a UK bestseller, and The Radleys, winner of the ALA Alex Award. An alumnus of Hull University and Leeds, his work has been translated into twenty-nine languages. He lives in New York with his wife, UK novelist Andrea Semple, and their two children.
"Very original spin on the myth...The bite-size chapters guide the reader from one viewpoint to another....Haig's depiction of teen politics is spot on....insightful, frightening and uplifting....Uncle Will [is] a splendidly evil yet believable character...Haig pays just about enough respect to the conventions of the genre that the average vampire fan should find lots to enjoy, but it's the blackly comic dissection of the family that makes this book stand out." —The Guardian
“This witty vampire novel from British author Haig provides what jaded fans of the Twilight series need, not True Blood exactly, but some fresh blood in the form of a true blue family.” --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Dark humor pervades Haig's entertaining vampire family soap opera...a refreshing take on an oversaturated genre." —Library Journal
“Terrific, droll, and touching.”
“The Radleys is effortlessly sleek and witty.”
“Haig’s contribution is freshly weird and ultimately thirst-quenching for fans of the genre.”
“As befits a vampire story, the wit tends to be sharp….Haig does justice to the effect of…betrayal on the souls of his characters—the startling pleasure and the lasting woe—proving himself a novelist of considerable seriousness and talent.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Matt Haig’s novel is not only head and shoulders above Twilight and all those other wimpy vampire romances, but, as an explorer of contemporary mores, Haig is more enjoyable company than writers with more ‘literary’ pedigrees.” —Newsday
“The genius of novelist Matt Haig’s book is that the vampirism takes a back seat—a wet, bloody back seat, but still—to the blackly comic family turmoil that’s at the center of the story….Take that, you Twilight mob. The trains of vampire lit and actual lit just met, in a glorious burst of sharp red.”
—The Dallas Morning News
“Haig classifies his books as black comedies, and The Radleys certainly fits that description…. [It’s] laced with lethal doses of humor.” —Pittsburgh Tribune-Review