The Dead Fathers Club

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Jonathan Cape, 2006 - Apparitions - 314 pages
158 Reviews
Eleven-year-old Philip Noble has a big problem. It all begins when his dad, who has been killed in a road accident, appears as a bloodstained ghost at his own funeral and introduces Philip to the Dead Fathers Club. The Dead Fathers Club are ghosts of dads in Newark who gather near the bottle banks outside the Nobles' pub. Philip learns the truth about ghosts: the only people who end up ghosts are murdered. He has to get revenge for his dad's murder by killing the murderer, his dad's brother, Uncle Alan. If he doesn't succeed in killing his uncle before his dad's birthday, just ten weeks away, his dad's spirit will never rest and he will always suffer the Terrors. So begins Philip's quest to avenge his dad and to save his mum from the greasy clutches of Uncle Alan, who seems intent on taking his dad's place in their lives. As Uncle Alan moves into the pub, Philip arms himself with weapons pilfered from the school chemistry cupboard, and attempts to carry out his father's relentless demands. But things keep distracting him. Leah for a start uathe gorgeous daughter of Alan's Bible-bashing business partner, Mr Polonius. And can Philip trust the ghost? The No Time before the Terrors take permanent hold is running out and when the moment comes to act, Philip finds himself hurtling towards disaster. Just as Matt Haig's acclaimed first novel, THE LAST FAMILY IN ENGLAND, was a brilliant reworking of Henry IV Part 1, with dogs in the major roles, so THE DEAD FATHER'S CLUB gives more than a nod towards Hamlet. Hilariously funny, it is full of poignant insights into the strange workings of the world seen through the eyes of a child.

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This quirky modernization of _Hamlet_ turned the classic tragedy into a sort of English comedy. I really enjoyed it - very well done! Usually a lack of proper punctuation drives me mad, but in this eleven-year-old's recounting of the days from his father's death to his father's birthday, somehow seemed very fitting. I just had such a fun time reading it! I certainly enjoyed it more than his most recent book, _The Possession of Mr. Cave_, and I think it is a real toss-up between it and _The Labrador Pact_. With nice twists and turns, and some truly hilarious moments, I found it more of a pleasurable read than of the last _Hamlet_ retelling that I read (_The Story of Edgar Sawtelle_). I think it would make a marvelous audiobook, as well! 

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amazing. the prose is incredible the story is beautifully told. the parallels with this and the original Hamlet are so well done. good reminder what an artist that Shakespeare many motifs and lessons whittled in the plot and Haig certainly did it justice. lived up to my expectations a lot. Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Matt Haig was born in 1975. He is the author of The Last Family in England (2004), and the forthcoming children's novel, Shadow Forest. His website is at

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