The Radleys: A Novelby Matt Haig
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,
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.
“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
- Free Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
- Age Range:
- 14 - 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
It is a quiet place, especially at night.
Too quiet, you’d be entitled to think, for any kind of monster to live among its pretty, tree-shaded lanes.
Indeed, at three o’clock in the morning in the village of Bishopthorpe, it is easy to believe the lie indulged in by its residents—that it is a place for good and quiet people to live good and quiet lives.
At this hour, the only sounds to be heard are those made by nature itself. The hoot of an owl, the faraway bark of a dog, or, on a breezy night like this one, the wind’s obscure whisper through the sycamore trees. Even if you stood on the main street, right outside the pub or the Hungry Gannet delicatessen, you wouldn’t often hear any traffic or be able to see the abusive graffiti that decorates the former post office (though the word FREAK might just be legible if you strain your eyes).
Away from the main street, on somewhere like Orchard Lane, if you took a nocturnal stroll past the detached period homes lived in by solicitors and doctors and project managers, you would find all their lights off and curtains drawn, secluding them from the night. Or you would until you reached number seventeen, where you’d notice the glow from an upstairs window filtering through the curtains.
And if you stopped, sucked in that cool and consoling fresh night air, you would at first see that number seventeen is a house otherwise in tune with those around it. Maybe not quite as grand as its closest neighbor, number nineteen, with its wide driveway and elegant Regency features, but still one that holds its own.
It is a house that looks and feels precisely how a village family home should look—not too big, but big enough, with nothing out of place or jarring on the eye. A dream house in many ways, as estate agents would tell you, and certainly perfect to raise children.
But after a moment you’d notice there is something not right about it. No, maybe “notice” is too strong. Perhaps you wouldn’t actively realize that even nature seems to be quieter around this house, that you can’t hear any birds or anything else at all. Yet there might be an instinctive sense that would make you wonder about that glowing light and feel a coldness that doesn’t come from the night air.
If that feeling grew, it might become a fear that would make you want to leave the scene and run away, but you probably wouldn’t. You would observe the nice house and the moderately expensive car parked outside and think that this is the property of perfectly normal human beings who pose no threat to the outside world.
If you let yourself think this, you would be wrong. For 17 Orchard Lane is the home of the Radleys, and despite their very best efforts, they are anything but normal.
© 2010 Matt Haig
Meet the Author
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.
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