The Dead Fathers Club

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February 02, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

In Matt Haig’s The Dead Fathers Club, Philip, an 11-year-old Brit, starts receiving visits from the ghost of his father, a pub owner who just died in a car accident. Dad blames his brother for his death and begs Philip to kill said uncle, who’s getting awfully cozy with the boy’s mum. Sound a tad familiar? Haig’s update of Hamlet is clever, and Philip’s narration nicely captures a studied, Haddonesque naïveté (”Uncle Alan who is Dads brother was there wearing his suit that was tight with his neck pouring over like the beer over the glass”). Alas, poor Yorick, the pastiche falls apart toward the end, when our once-likable hero gets mired in the nitty-gritty of revenge.

The Dead Fathers Club

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The Dead Fathers Club

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