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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 (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 530,638 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

Review

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

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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33 of 36 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. SMEDLEY VINE VOICE on 15 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Welcome to the world of the Radleys, a world very much like our own, except that vampires (or blood addicts, if you prefer) are not fictional beasts, but live, go to school and work among us, even attending book club meetings. They are to be found in cities, towns and villages alike. When we meet them, Mum and Dad (Peter and Helen) are striving to live as 'unbloods' (i.e. abstaining) and their teenage children have no idea of their true heritage. Not all vampires are abstainers however, some living as fully active creatures of the night.

The Radleys seem to be living fairly normal lives, each member of the family have their foibles and issues, though these can all be linked back to the fact that they are not human, as we go on to discover... Over the course of the proceeding days, one action sparks off a chain of events; Peter's brother Will, a fully active and charismatic vampire, arrives on the scene; the children Clara and Rowan go through an awakening and grow into their true selves; secrets and hidden desires are exposed along the way and mortals are dragged in, all of which threatens to tear their world apart.

The Radleys does something new with the traditional vampire folklore. The way in which their existence is weaved into our world, culture and society is well done, I particularly enjoyed the fact that Lord Byron, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and the Rolling Stones are all exposed as vampires! If you believe what this book tells you, Manchester is a particularly large centre of vampire activity. Their protective body, the Sheridan Society, you could almost believe to exist, together with the nighclubs and network which is there to support them and their tenuous relationship with the police.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Radleys are a family of vampires - Peter, Helen and their children Rowan and Clara. But you would never guess from meeting them that they are anything out of the ordinary. They live in suburbia and try and lead normal lives by making sure they eat plenty of meat and staying out of the sun. Their `bible' is The Abstainer's Handbook'. Their lives only start to fall apart when Clara decides to adopt a vegan diet - a big mistake for an abstaining vampire. The whole idea of vampires trying to live normal lives and resisting the temptation to bite their friends and acquaintances is well imagined and described.

There are some interesting and serious points to be made about trying to deny your innate qualities and live a life which is completely false so the book works as a parable which can be applied in many circumstances. The characters are interesting; Peter trying to subsume his blood lust in his job as a GP; Helen putting her energies into home and children and living a normal human life. The children - Clara and Rowan - have problems at school and are regarded as a little weird. Some people even suspect what they are.

I found the book interesting in its unusual take on vampires. The descriptions of family life and conversations are well drawn and the dialogue is believable. I found the ending poignant but hopeful and the last third of the book is probably the best. The first 100 pages might seem difficult to get into but the book does repay perseverance.
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