From the Publisher
"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
“Irresistible….Full of clever turns, darkly hilarious spins….Even if you're suffering from vampire fatigue, you’ll find The Radleys is a fun, fresh contribution to the genre.”
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
This witty vampire novel from British author Haig (The Possession of Mr. Cave) 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. Dr. Peter Radley and his wife, Helen, have fled wild London for the village of Bishopthorpe, where they live an outwardly ordinary life. The Radleys, who follow the rules of The Abstainer's Handbook (e.g., "Be proud to act like a normal human being"), haven't told their 15-year-old vegan daughter, Clara, and 17-year-old son, Rowan, who's troubled by nightmares, that they're really vampires. A crisis occurs when a drunken classmate of Clara's, Stuart Harper, attacks her on her way home from a party and inadvertently awakens the girl's blood thirst. Peter's call for help to his brother, Will, a practicing vampire, leads to scary consequences. The likable Clara and Rowan will appeal to both adult and teen readers. (Dec.)
Dark humor pervades Haig's (The Possession of Dr. Cave) entertaining vampire family soap opera. While Helen was engaged to Peter Radley 17 years ago, his brother Will secretly whisked her off for one sex-filled "vampire conversion" night in Paris. A pregnant Helen then told Peter the baby was his, and together they decided to live like normal people and follow the guidelines set down by the Abstainer's Handbook, written for those who no longer wish to live the traditional vampire life. Complications arise as their children, Rowan (Will's biological son) and Clara, begin to acquire vampire characteristics. Clara is the first to change when one night a thuggish classmate attacks her. The fangs pop out, and Clara does what any vampire would naturally do. At last Helen agrees with Peter that it is time to explain their heritage to the children. At first the Radleys seem to be the stereotypical dysfunctional family, but each of them gradually shows a depth of character that helps them to pull together when outside forces attempt to destroy them. VERDICT This witty novel offers a refreshing take on an oversaturated genre. Already optioned by director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), this is sure to attract reader attention. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/10.]—Patricia Altner, Columbia, MD
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