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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2010 Matt Haig (P)2010 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Funny, scary and wickedly familiar...Reading The Radleys proved an unpredictable experience, its themes crafted through a pleasurable switch of tones. On the one hand it’s a parochial comedy of manners in a...suburban setting, but it quickly gathers poison and then effortlessly enters the supernatural without ever betraying its worldly concerns.” (Alfonso Cuarón, director of Y Tu MamÁ TambiÉn, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men)
" The Radleys is, first and foremost, the remarkable story of a family, born of denial and deceit, learning to tell the truth. That the family in question happens to be Undead is secondary, because in Matt Haig’s masterly hands vampirism is much more than blood lust. It is a yearning for love, truth, passion, and authentic connection.” (Allison Burnett, author of Undiscovered Gyrl)
"A sharp, bloody tale of abstinence and indulgence (and trying not to eat the neighbors).” (Steven Hall, author of The Raw Shark Texts)

What listeners say about The Radleys

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Dangers of Trying Too Hard to Fit In

This is my first Matt Haig book. I've read fiction books in the past where it seems obvious that the author had written a perfectly normal book and their editor said "Vampires are popular, add a vampire to your story." So they do, but it adds nothing to the plot and just gets in the way.

This is not a vampire book, although the Radley family are all vampires. The author expertly uses vampirism to make a very human point. This is a book about belonging, finding your place and fitting in. The price some people pay to fit in, to be perceived as normal or regular, the damage that causes and the toll it takes. And it is about the danger of secrets. And finally, it is about accepting what makes you different. There are probably other real physical conditions or disabilities the author could have used to make the same point, but electing to use vampirism as what sets the Radley's apart keeps the story from being maudlin or depressing. The writing is crisp, the plot moves quickly, although the end drags on a bit too long. The characters are well developed, the good people are sympathetic, the bad people are not.

I really enjoyed the occasional quotes from the fictional Book of Abstinence, a guide for Vampires who want to abstain from their true nature. It is patterned off of every 12 step guidebook that has ever been published.

The narration was superb.

I recommend this book.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Blood doesn't satisfy cravings. It magnifies them.

THE RADLEYS is not a syrupy sweet sparkly YA vampire romance novel… fortunately! What it is; is a satisfyingly thought-out and well executed story about a suburban family (the Radleys) who have a guiltful taste for the sticky red stuff.

Matt Haig did a favorable job in first, showcasing this family’s dynamics of love and dysfunction as they struggle to blend in and be “normal” and second, in telling a thrilling heart pounding vampire tale. His ability to maintain a strong balance of the two, succeeded in captivating my attention throughout.

Would I recommend THE RADLEYS to a friend? Definitely!... especially in the MP3 audio format. Toby Leonard Moore’s narration/performance in accent, really adds to the experience of this UK born book.

As stated before THE RADLEYS is not your expected bloodsucker story, although there are sprinkles of humor and romance with colorful bits of creative vampiric history; I’d classify this book in the paranormal drama category due to its slightly PG13 soap-operaish vibe. Now the question is… will there be a sequel? I hope so.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!!

More please! Loved the story, writing style, and narrator. I don't want to spoil the story.
All I can say is listen and absorb The Radleys.

5 people found this helpful

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Great little quick dive into a type of fantasy

I love all things vampire. I love the folklore and the vampire culture. I was a sucker for all of it from a very young age. This book is satisfying. It is a little derivative sometimes but I forgive it because the ride is pure fun. Totally recommend as a great escape.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Family ties, social norms, and oh yeah, vampires

The Radleys are an atypical family. They are vampires, but the parents have not told their children, who suffer from sensitivity to sunlight, rashes, pale skin, and weakness and have no idea why.

One day, their young daughter is attacked in the forrest and while defending herself, she tastes blood for the first time. Their lives, of course, will never be the same.

This is a quickly told humerus story with a surprising dose of drama that helps move the plot along. In the end, it is a story about family secrets and social norms.

Good narration and nice writing.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun and inventive

Fun, quirky, inventive, as with other Haig novels like The Humans, and How to Stop Time. Haig writes clearly. He is insightful on many themes as with his novel, The Humans, creating a 97 point list of how to live properly. He is one of the most creative and amusing writers I have enjoyed reading. I recommend him to the reader looking for light fare but good writing.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

what fun...

I generally don't like fantasy stuff, especially series like Twilight, but I decided to take a chance on this book based on some reviews I read. I was suprised by how much I liked this book. The writing style was fun, the characters interesting and the story solid. This summer I listened to Freedom: A Novel and absolutely hated it. It's ironic that this one is similar in story, but just so much more. Too bad though, I'm sure it won't be an Oprah book club choice.

3 people found this helpful

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Bloody brilliant

Sure you got True Blood and Twilight but this book really humanizes vampires and maybe that’s dangerous but it’s a great read.

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Gripping, moving story with fantastic narration!

I love a good vampire story and this is definitely that and more! Very quick paced, exciting, and moving. For a book about vampires, there was a moving humanity to it I fell in love with. Toby Leonard Moore is pitch perfect in his narration. I truly loved every minute of this book!

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UGGGH!

Would you try another book from Matt Haig and/or Toby Leonard Moore?

NO!

What could Matt Haig have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I don't think that even paying me to read it would have worked.

Any additional comments?

It was so dry and slow I couldn't get passed the first two chapters that I was painfully forcing myself to hear. This was a huge let down.

1 person found this helpful