Thursday, 14 July 2011
The Radleys by Matt Haig
This darkly humorous book from Matt Haig is a new take on vampire novels. There's no romance, abstinence or glamour here, it's just normal people that happen to be vampires and are faintly embarrassed about it enough to hide it from their children. In fact, the vampire plot at times takes the back-seat to the more literary-type themes of unhappy marriages, self-denial, corruption in the police and isolation. The Radleys are vampires, but the book isn't just about that.
When daughter Clara is attacked, her vampire impulses break through and this blows open the Radleys carefully constructed world. Clara and Rowan must deal with being completely different from who they thought they are and brother in law Will is drafted in to help deal with the aftermath of the attack. A 'practising' vampire, he causes many family tensions to surface and the marriage between Helen and Peter comes under pressure. Rowan also gets the chance to get his own back on the bullies that have been making his life miserable.
I very much enjoyed reading this book and loved all of the satirical elements of it. The first half, where the Radley children realise they are vampires, was more enjoyable than the second, which became just a tad Jerry Springer like with Will and Helen. The Radleys was well written and had a fast pace, making it hard to put down.
Verdict: A new take on the vampire myth, well worth a read.
Score: 4 out of 5