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The dead fathers club
Matt Haig
Adult Fiction HAIG

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Philip Noble
Boy
Age: 11
Father recently passed away from a car accident; father's spirit reveals the truth that Philip's uncle killed him; must kill his uncle who is already moving on his mother and taking over the family business.
Student

Alan
Male
Philip's uncle; brother died in a car accident; moving in on his brother's widow and family business.
Auto mechanic



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