The Humans

The Humans

Paperback | July 2, 2013

byMatt Haig

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The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with what may be his best, funniest, and most devastating dark comedy yet. When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at

Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry back home to the utopian world of his own planet, where everyone enjoys immortality and infinite knowledge.

He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, and their capacity for murder and war, and he is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he has been led to believe. Disguised as Martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, and develops an ear for rock music and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family, and in picking up the pieces of the professor’s shattered personal life, he begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfections and to question the mission that brought him here.

Praised by The New York Times as a “novelist of great seriousness and talent,” Matt Haig delivers an unlikely story about human nature and the joy found in the messiness of life on Earth. The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject—ourselves.

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The Humans

Paperback | July 2, 2013
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From the Publisher

The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with what may be his best, funniest, and most devastating dark comedy yet. When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician atCambridge U...

MATT HAIG has published four adult novels, including the critically acclaimedThe Radleys. He has also published two children’s novels,Shadow Forest(winner of the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize) andThe Runaway Troll. He lives in York, England, with his family.Visit him online at matthaig.com.'Like' Matt on Facebook: Matt HaigFollow Matt o...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 6 × 0.76 inPublished:July 2, 2013Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1443423653

ISBN - 13:9781443423656

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Life on earth is not what it seems "The Humans" is a quirky, touching story with a wondrous storyline that makes you think about the human condition. An extraterrestrial is sent to earth to fulfill a special task. His initial disdain for humans changes as he interacts with his chosen human family and their friends. There is Professor Martin, genius mathematician Isobel, his wife and a historian Gulliver, their son, a disgruntled teen Newton, their loveable dog The events that ensue wreak havoc on the family and an unlikely relationship begins to form between the E.T. visitor and the humans. The story makes us see the beauty and hope that is humanity. The philosophy and questions that arise in the book make us realize how vital art, poetry and ultimately love are as we search for meaning and hope and goodness in life.
Date published: 2014-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Was expecting cute and got a great book! Professor Andrew Martin has just solved the Riemann Hypothesis; the equation that mathematicians deemed impossible to solve.  Because having the answer to this hypothesis would alter human life as we know it alarms were set off throughout the universe and the Vonnadorians quickly sent a “hit-alien” to eliminate not only Professor Martin but also any human with whom he may have shared his discovery.  Our unnamed visitor arrives in the form of Professor Martin (who the reader learns has been eliminated) and begins his quest.  Not as easy as it seems, especially when our unnamed visitor begins to understand more about lowly humans … things he didn’t understand from swallowing a few travelogue capsules of information back home. When a book starts off with “I know that some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist.  For those that don’t know, a human is a real bipedal life form of mid-range intelligence … for the rest of you, and those who sent me, humans are in many respects exactly as strange as you would expect them to be.  Certainly it is true that on first sighting you would be appalled by their physical appearance”, as a reader you know you are going to be in for an interesting journey.   When I picked this book up I expected it to be cute.  It was.  But it was also so much more; an interesting commentary on relationships of all kinds, humorous insights on the “human race”, some poignant moments of family life and a look at what it means to have friends and to love.  I love it when a little book can surprise and enthrall in this way.   Some tempting tidbits from our unnamed alien friend … “A cow is an Earth-dwelling animal...which humans treat as a one-stop shop for food, liquid refreshment, fertilizer and designer footwear” “Love is what humans are all about but they don’t understand it.  All I know is that it’s a frightening thing.  And humans are very frightened of it, which is why they have quiz shows.  To take their mind off it and think of something else” “Peanut butter sandwiches go perfectly well with a glass of white wine.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise” “Don’t bother going into space until you can leave the solar system.  Then go to Zabii” “Alcohol in the evening is very enjoyable.  Hangovers in the morning are very unpleasant.  At some point you have to choose; evenings or mornings” “Start fires.  But only metaphorically.  Unless you are cold and it’s a safe setting.  In which case; start fires” “Leonardo da Vinci was not one of you.  He was one of us” I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone.  Although two totally different types of books in many ways my reaction to this book reminded me of “Ella Minnow Pea” by Mark Dunn.  Another big surprise in a little package.
Date published: 2014-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I've read in 5 years This book is small and unassuming but it packs in powerful laughs, intrigue, and may even make you misty eyed at parts. An alien takes over the body and life of a math professor and learns first hand what it means to be human. I will be keeping this on my shelf forever. I will even reference it for great quotes once and awhile.
Date published: 2014-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!! What's not to love? I know we've all considered what aliens would think if their first contact with us was a teenage girls text message, and this book explores that idea in a way. Aliens already know about us. This alien in particular is on a mission to stop us from taking over the universe.  And even though they think they know everything, they don't know enough of the little things. Like what the purpose of clothing is. And his first encounter with the human language is a Cosmo magazine.  This is how Haig envisions alien's first interaction with Earth, and it's hilarious. Pick this book up. Read it. And then read it again. :)
Date published: 2013-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Aliens are among us! ;) When I started this book, I thought of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy because it begins with the humour of an alien's transformation to a human and its experiences as it attempts to fit in. However, this story quickly shifts gears and becomes a poignant study in human relationships, desires, and what it is to be "human". I enjoyed this book very much. Matt Haig's story is interesting and a unique study on what we, as Humans, need to live our lives to the fullest. While I was a little disappointed that it wasn't the hilarious story I was expecting, I was absolutely satisfied at where Haig took this beautifully written, and fun look at life on earth. A galactic 5 Stars!
Date published: 2013-07-29

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Editorial Reviews

"A brilliant exploration of what it is to love, and to be human. . . .Heartwarming and hilarious, weird and utterly wonderful. One of the best books I've read in a very long time." -S. J. WATSON, AUTHOR OF BEFORE I GO TO SLEEPPRAISE FOR THE RADLEYS:"A very funny book-social satire masquerading as flippant black humour. It's rare that you can call a novel charming that involves murder and blood-drinking, but that's exactly what Matt Haig has provided us: a smart little fable and commentary on suburban living and family dysfunction, told with a sly wink and a great deal of wit and humour." -THE GLOBE AND MAIL"[A] novelist of considerable seriousness and talent." -THE NEW YORK TIMES