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The Radleys Paperback – 1 Jul 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847678602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847678607
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 2.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matt Haig suffered a breakdown in his early twenties. After battling depression for a long while he turned to writing. He now believes that reading and writing books saved his life, and believes that 'in a world trying to increasingly isolate us from our environment and our true selves, books are our route to freedom, and to each other'. His novels include the bestsellers The Last Family in England, The Radleys and The Humans. His books have been translated into 30 languages. All his novels for adults have been optioned for film. He has also written novels for children, including Shadow Forest, To Be A Cat and the new YA novel Echo Boy. His next book is about his experience of depression, called Reasons To Stay Alive.

He won the TV Book Club 'book of the series', and has been shortlisted for a Specsavers National Book Award. The Humans has been chosen as a 2014 World Book Night title. His children's novels have won the Smarties Gold Medal, the Blue Peter Book of the Year, been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal three times.

His books have received praise from Jeanette Winterson, Joanne Harris, Patrick Ness, Ian Rankin and SJ Watson, among others. The Guardian summed up his writing as 'funny, clever and quite, quite lovely' by The Times and the New York Times called him 'a writer of great talent'.

Product Description


I love this book. It's fabulous and moving and funny and strange. (Jeanette Winterson on The Last Family in England)

So surprising and strange that it vaults into a realm all of its own . . . delightfully weird. (The Guardian on The Dead Fathers Club)

A compelling book; a page-turner in the best sense of the word. (John Burnside on The Possession of Mr Cave, The Guardian)

A comic tour de force . . . On another level it's a desperately sad view from underneath as a family falls apart. (The Times on The Last Family in England)

Humorous and original. A crossover book like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. (Daily Mail on The Dead Fathers Club)

A sharp, bloody tale of abstinence and indulgence (and

trying not to eat the neighbours).

(Steven Hall, author of The Raw Shark Texts)

All vampire fiction has a strong sexual undercurrent; but in this book, the passion's not just for the pale-faced teens. (Helen Brown Daily Mail)

An enjoyably twisty and self aware tale . . . that should appeal to all vampire fans, whatever their age. (Ben East Metro)

Great fun. (Vogue)

A witty introduction to present-day vampire lore. (The Observer)

A bloody good read. (News of the World)

This is an author who doesn't do run-of-the-mill . . . the result is a blackly humorous novel that shimmers with secrets and shadows and unspoken longings. (The Press)

Pointed, clever and witty. (Independent)

This is a novel with a twist that draws you in with its short chapters and original plot. At times it is amusing and at others quite moving and well-observed . . . it will make you look at your neighbours in a new light. (Gazette and Herald)

Book Description

From critically acclaimed Matt Haig comes a hilarious novel that asks what we gain - and lose - as we grow up

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jackie on 3 July 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
On deciding to have a look at the books being reviewed on the TV Book Club, I saw this book and on reading the description, found I was intrigued.

This is a vampire story, but for a change not all about the angst of teenagers. The family, the Radleys, mum and dad with teenage son & daughter, are just living normal if somewhat boring lives in their small village. The kids having a hard time at school, the father a local GP and mum a housewife. However, the parents are actually vampires who have made the decision not to be practising vampires, and the teens don't yet know.

All this is, of course, about to change, as in one moment in time the daughter discovers what she really is capable of. We then go on the journey of how they tell their children what they are and what it means. A long missing relative visits and all sorts of memories and feeling are stirred up for the couple, and as will happen in a book, matters come to a head and decisions have to made.

I don't want to spoil any more of the story, but I will say that I really enjoyed the book, it was all about vampires, which I love, but with a difference. There were teen vamps but the book was not all about them, there was plenty of more adult themes and concerns. Because of this I would recommend this book, in particular, to any one who enjoys vampire books, but who is getting a bit tired of the young age of all the main characters.

I will watch the episode when this book is discussed with interest, and investigate other books by Matt Haig
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Apollo 11 VINE VOICE on 16 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Witty, clever and inventive, Matt Haig's The Radleys shines a light on contemporary mores by superimposing our everyday foibles onto a surreal situation. In this case, The Radleys of the title are vampires. Vampires attempting to live a normal suburban life. However, there is a twist. The parents of the family have chosen this way of life - they are abstainers, dosed up on supermarket painkillers attempting to keep their sickness at bay - whereas the children are - despite the factor 30 sunblock and controlled diets - unaware of their true natures. That is until something happens causing the proverbial curtain to be pulled back, and the truth to be revealed.

I enjoyed Haig's tale, holding at bay the obvious relationship to so many other vampire stories of the moment. The author doesn't necessarily add anything to the bloodsuckers legend, but then I'm not sure that was ever the case. My only criticism is Haig's rather affected prose style, which I found too often stood between me and a suitable pace; it's as if the author is holding the story at arm's length. That said, style is obviously a matter of taste, and there's still much to enjoy in The Radleys.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J W VINE VOICE on 10 Oct 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Most families have the odd skeleton in the closet; closets in the Radleys household seem to be more likely to be filled with pale corpses.

I will confess, I have not read any of the vampire chronicles that currently fill the nation's bookshops, nor have I been drawn to the profusion of vampiric sagas shown around the clock on satellite and cable channels. In part this is due to the fact I am no longer an angst ridden teenager and I am not, indeed am unlikely ever to be, a middle aged woman who fills her house with cats, incense and ethnic art. Any book including one or more of the following words: Dark, Moon, Red, Blood, Twilight in its title is unlikely to find its way onto my bookshelf (I am more likely to break my knees with a claw hammer). The Radleys however promised a different perspective and to a larger part it delivers.

The Radleys: the parents are abstaining from their proclivities through choice, the children abstaining because they don't know they're vampires, merely that they have some odd allergies and need to wear sunblock at all times of the year. Inevitably it all goes a bit pear shaped, the daughter is a bit low on haemoglobin having recently turned vegan, she has a confrontation and erm...'sees red' literally and figuratively. As you would expect, having a confrontation with a vampire is typically short lived and terminal, as it proves in this case. Cue some angst, self discovery, rejection and acceptance. Unable to cope with this episode in his otherwise all too dull suburban life, the father calls on his brother for assistance - his brother has something of a reputation and a lot of `history' - cue some more twists. Now, none of these twists are truly revelatory, they are all reasonably signposted; however, this doesn't really matter to the reader.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By The Wolf TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Of the vampires I have known the Radley's are untypical of their
kind until Clara, the youngest member of this otherwise rather
ordinary suburban family, is overtaken by her instincts when a
particularly objectionable youth called Harper follows her home with
unwholesome intentions after a party. He gets his just deserts and
Clara gets a three course feast. This can only mean trouble however.

If blood is your thing (and it's here by the bottle and bucket load)
then you will find much to enjoy in this deliciouly sanguinary
narrative. The horror is enlivened by Matt Haig's dark sense of
humour and he has made a worthy contribution to a popular genre,
the public appetite for which shows little sign of abating just yet.

In Mr Haig's world it would seem that the many undead who live
unnoticed amongst us are, for the most part protected by the police,
until their feeding habits become too public and too messy.

Uncle Will (uncle to Clara and Rowan, brother to their father
Peter and old flame to Helen, Peter's wife) is a particularly
well-drawn character. Reluctantly recruited by Peter to help sort
out the mess generated by Clara's unwitting self-actualization his
presence makes more than a few skeletons leap out of the closet!

Just when you might have thought there were enough vampire books
in the world along comes 'The Radleys'. There's certainly room
for one more, however, with a story as inventive and enjoyable as this!

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