Eleven-year-old Philip Noble has a big problem: His dad, who was killed in a car accident, appears as a bloodstained ghost at his own funeral and introduces Philip to the Dead Fathers Club. The club, whose members were all murdered, gathers outside the Castle and Falcon, the local pub that Philips family owns and lives above. Philips father tells him that Uncle Alan killed him and he must avenge his death. When Philip realizes that Uncle Alan has designs on his mom and the family pub, Philip decides that something must be done. But its a much bigger job than he anticipated, especially when he is caught up by the usual distractions of childhooda pretty girl, wayward friends, school bullies, and his own self-doubt. The Dead Fathers Club is a riveting, imaginative, and quirky update of Shakespeares great tragedy that will establish Matt Haig as a young writer of great talent and imagination.
Philip, who pours out his story in a style unhindered by punctuation or the rules of grammar, is an immensely likeable character. Spending 300-pages seeing through his innocent and honest eyes as he relates his tragically-comic story is an experience not to be missed. His story is actually more tragic than anything Hamlet had to deal with. In fact, my overwhelming urge on finishing The Dead Fathers Club was to apologize to Philip for laughing at his predicament, but it is impossible not to as Haig has a keen eye for the blackly comic. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
San Francisco Chronicle - Reyhan Harmanci
One of the joys (for those familiar with Hamlet) is figuring out at what points Haig's work diverges. Phillip is an unreliable narrator, but it isn't until close to the ending that you begin to wonder just how unreliable .... Through Phillip, and the struggles Phillip has with his father's ghost, we see the cruelty of death, the desire to make sense out of an nonsensical event. The Dead Fathers Club is full of funny moments, but the ending reveals the dark heart of Hamlet's story.
USA Today - Susan Kelly
Haig cleverly reinvents this 400-year-old tragedy as a 21st-century morality tale inhabited by schoolchildren, barmaids and mechanics, and it's fun to look for the parallels between the two works. . . The story's greatest strength, however, is Philip's perspective as narrator. Haig effectively runs Philip's words and thoughts together with an economy of punctuation, spliced with details that a child would notice, to create the voice of an anxious child
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.
Booklist - Michael Cart
Starred Review. Given to panic attacks, Philip is a breathless storyteller who seldom stops for punctuation but whose honesty and innocence, which shine from every sentence, are utterly captivating and heartbreakingly poignant. The result is an absolutely irresistible read.
Starred Review. Haig does an enviable job of leavening a sad premise through the words and actions of a charming, resilient young man.
We now owe another debt to Shakespeare, and one to Haig, for re-imagining a tragic masterpiece with such wit, force and-yes-originality.
The Guardian - Gerard Woodward
The child's perspective also brings out the absurd comedy of Shakespeare's tragedy; most of all it allows Haig to indulge his innocently acute eye for detail and his delightfully weird imagination.
The Daily Mail, UK
Humorous and original … [it] will appeal to adults and children alike.
Sunday Express - Nick Ryan The Dead Fathers Club is poignant, funny, innocent, touching has an underdog and enough nasty undertones to please the most cynical mind - all of it written from a child's perspective. . . This novel is both funny, surreal and at times full of very black humour: a fine piece of work by a talented and clearly imaginative young writer.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Joe What happened next! This book is absolutely amazing, at first I was a bit bothered by the lack of punctuations but I later loved it. I really recommend it because it has a nice mix of drama and comedy. The ending will leave you wondering, what happened next? but I... Read More
Rated of 5
by dudeman awesome This book is awesome! Hilarious, heartfelt, and easily relateable. It opens up the reader's imagination and ability to picture things in the mind. You never get tired while reading it. It keeps your reading sense tingling!
It's not at all necessary to be
familiar with Hamlet to
appreciate The Dead Fathers Club,
but for those who would like to freshen
their memories, here is a quick outline:
Hamlet's father, King Hamlet of Denmark,
is recently dead. Claudius, the dead
king's brother, becomes King and quickly
marries King Hamlet's widow, Gertrude.
Young Hamlet fears that Claudius killed
his father, a fear that is confirmed
when he meets his father's ghost who
tells him that Claudius did indeed
murder him by pouring poison in his ear.
Intent on avenging his father, Hamlet
becomes increasingly melancholic and
gives the impression of having gone mad.
Claudius and his wife employ two of
Hamlet's friends, Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern, to spy on him; and the
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