The Dead Fathers Club

“Totally engrossing”

Stephen Daldry,
director of The Hours and Billy Elliot

The Dead Fathers Club is out now in paperback in the UK (Vintage). It’s published by Viking (Penguin) in the US. There is also an audiobook available, see here. The movie option has gone to Tristram Shapeero.

Read the reviews here or watch my tour of Newark-on-Trent (where the book is set) here.

The inside cover says:

A hilarious and touching novel narrated by an eleven-year old boy who is visited by his father’s ghost

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 Philip’s family owns and lives above. Philip learns that the person responsible for his father’s death is his Uncle Alan. When Philip realizes that Uncle Alan has designs on his mom and the family pub, Philip decides that something must be done. But avenging his father’s death is a much bigger job than he anticipated, especially when he is caught up by the usual distractions of childhood—a pretty girl, wayward friends, school bullies, and his own self-doubt.

The Dead Fathers Club is an incredibly funny, imaginative, and quirky update of Hamlet that will appeal to fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and establish Matt Haig as a young writer of great talent.

I say:

The Dead Fathers Club is by far the most personal novel of the three I’ve written. I’m sure I’ll never be able to write anything like it again. It nearly gave me a nervous breakdown, to be honest. The voice inside Philip’s head – breathless, unpunctuated, hyper-sensitive, scared, immature – is the voice inside my own head a lot of the time, and many of his experiences are drawn from my own life, such as panic disorder.

For the other stuff I’ve written I’ve had to structure it and think all the characters through before putting pen to paper. It’s like feeling your way through an underground mine with intersecting tunnels. With this it was the opposite. It was there all at once and I had to write it down as fast as I could, feeling rather than thinking the whole structure, and only coming up for air once in a while.

This meant having absolutely no life for four months, living on cereal and toast, getting through pens at a rate of one a day, and having surreal dreams about tropical fish and Roman Emperors.

To see the Viking reading guide click here.

If you’d like to read the first few pages of The Dead Fathers Club then click here.

Here are some highlights from the US launch of the novel:

– Top 20 Book Sense February Pick
– Borders Original Voices Selection

– Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
– Starred reviews in Kirkus Review, Publishing News and Booklist
– National and regional coverage – see the reviews here.

You can buy the UK version here or US version here.