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Matt Haig is the internationally bestselling writer of six novels including the forthcoming How to Stop Time (on sale February 2018), several award-winning children's books, and one work of nonfiction, Reasons To Stay Alive. The Dead Fathers Club was his American debut, and his work has been translated into thirty languages.
Haig (The Last Family in England) creatively reanimates themes from Hamlet with an 11-year-old British protagonist who is commissioned to avenge his father's murder. After Philip Noble passes his hand through his father's flickering spirit at the funeral, Dad reveals the truth: it was conniving auto mechanic Uncle Alan who orchestrated the automobile "accident" that claimed his life, and Philip must kill Uncle Alan by dead Dad's next birthday-barely 11 weeks away-or he'll be consumed forever by the Terrors. Time is fleeting, however, as repugnant Uncle Alan has already begun to put the moves on Philip's mother and has taken over the family pub's operations. In animated, adolescent prose, Philip, goaded on by his father's ghost, plots his uncle's murder. Besides the time-sensitive obligation, Philip must also contend with the slings and arrows of adolescent life: friends, girls, meddling schoolteachers, bullies and peer pressure. The plucky hero impressively navigates the gloomy, pungent waters of retribution, death and guilt, and Haig does an enviable job of leavening a sad premise through the words and actions of a charming, resilient young man. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Phillip Noble's father is killed in a car accident, and suddenly Uncle Alan is hanging around Phillip's mother. It isn't long before the ghost of Phillip's dad appears and tells the 11 year old that the death was no accident. The ghost also tells Phillip about the dead fathers club, whose members are doomed to an eternity of terrors because their murders were never avenged. The only solution is for Phillip to murder his uncle before his father's next birthday. Unsure of what to do, Phillip rents a DVD, The Murder of Gonzago: A Brother's Murder, a Son's Revenge, to see how his uncle reacts. Haig (The Last Family in England) neatly sustains the Hamlet parallel, giving Phillip a girlfriend named Leah whose father is a bit meddlesome and revealing Phillip's uncertainty about whether to believe the ghost. Yet Phillip is no prince-in fact, he's a bumbling boy-and unlike Hamlet's father, this ghost hangs around quite a bit. What makes this work effective is that the narrative captures the anxiety of a timid boy, ridiculed by everyone, who must decide whether and how to kill his charismatic uncle. Hamlet never faced such difficulties. Recommended.-Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"The Dead Fathers Club has much to recommend it. . . . It's ingenious." -USA Today "Captures a studied, Haddonesque naivete." -Entertainment Weekly "We now owe another debt to Shakespeare, and one to Haig, for re-imagining a tragic masterpiece with such wit, force, and-yes-originality." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Humorous and original." -Daily Mail (London) "An absolutely irresistible read." -Booklist (starred review) Praise for How To Stop Time "Matt Haig's latest book, How To Stop Time, is marvelous in every sense of the word. Clever, funny, poignant, and written with Haig's trademark blend of crystalline prose and deft storytelling, this is a book that stirs the heart and mind in equal measure. A hugely enjoyable read." - Deborah Harkness author of The All Souls Trilogy "Compelling and full of life's big questions, How To Stop Time is a book you will not be able to put down." --Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project "The narrator is 400 years old, but the sardonic asides give this pacy novel a modern twist. Matt Haig has designs on our heartstrings . . . The energy and zip of this book are hard to resist." --The Guardian "Matt Haig is astounding." --Stephen Fry