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The Radleys

Matt Haig

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Canongate

Published : 2011

Copyright : Matt Haig 2010

ISBN-10 : PB 1-84767-861-0
ISBN-13 : PB 978-184767-861-4

Publisher's Write-Up

A sharp-toothed page-turner for all fans of urban gothic and vampire-lit.

Meet the Radleys: Peter, Helen and their teenage kids Clara and Rowan. An everyday family who live in a pretty English village and juggle dysfunctional lives. So far, so normal. Except, as Peter and Helen know (but the kids have yet to find out), the Radleys happen to be a family of abstaining vampires. When one night Clara finds herself driven to commit a bloodthirsty act of violence, her parents need to explain a few things: why is their skin is so sensitive to light, why do they all find garlic so repulsive, and why has Clara's recent decision to go vegan had quite such an effect on her behaviour...? But when mysterious Uncle Will swoops into the village, he unleashes a host of shadowy truths and dark secrets that threaten to destroy the Radleys and the world around them.

Life with the Radleys: Radio 4, dinner parties with the Bishopthorpe neighbours and self-denial. Loads of self-denial. But all hell is about to break loose. When teenage daughter Clara gets attacked on the way home from a party, she and her brother Rowan finally discover why they can't sleep, can't eat a Thai salad without fear of asphyxiation and can't go outside unless they're smothered in Factor 50. With a visit from their lethally louche uncle Will and an increasingly suspicious police force, life in Bishopthorpe is about to change. Drastically.

'The vampire novel is a crowded genre these days. To distinguish itself, a book will need inventiveness, wit, beauty, truth and a narrative within which these attributes can flourish. The Radleys, by Matt Haig, has got them…As befits a vampire story, the wit tends to be sharp, and is often aimed at the mores and folkways of suburban life.'

The New York Times

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

Daily Mail

'Pointed, clever and witty.'


'A witty introduction to present-day vampire lore.'

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Ben Macnair (310811) Rating (8/10)

Review by Ben Macnair
Rating 8/10
It is never easy growing up. Trying to find your way in the world, trying to excel in school, and avoiding the bully, being bored by your suburban existence, wanting to escape the one horse town you have found yourself in. It is even worse if you are Vampire, a fact that your parents have helpfully neglected to tell you about.

This is the life of Rowan and Clara, and their parents who have settled for a suburban life because they do not want their children to grow up with the same pressures that they did.

Nature, however, makes her own rules, an when Clara is attacked on the way home from a party, it unlocks the secret for her, her family, her best friend and her father, as well as Manchester’s highly secret Unnamed Predator Unit.

Much is made of Vampire Lore, from the Vegetarian Clara finding her diet radically changed by her new habits, or Rowan finding it easier to talk to Eve, the girl of his dreams, and his sister’s best friend, as well as the School Bully’s girl friend, when he has drunk blood. Will, the Uncle the Children were never told about makes his presence felt, but makes his move on Helen, his Brother’s wife, feeling that he gave up on her and their relationship too soon.

The Radleys is an entertaining read that continues on from Matt Haig’s previous work, such as The Possession of Mr Cave which also looked at the secrets within family life. There are moments of humour and pathos in the book, but it is an easy read, with a mainly linear structure that leads to as happy an ending as you can expect for a family whose nature means that they have to feed on the blood of strangers to keep living.
Ben Macnair (31st August 2011)

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