The Humans by Matt HaigThe Humans by Matt Haig

The Humans

byMatt Haig

Paperback | July 2, 2013

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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.

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'Like' Matt on Facebook: Matt HaigFollow Matt o...
Title:The HumansFormat: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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Rated 4 out of 5 by from So good A very honest and interesting read about human nature. I didn't expect to end up liking the book this much!
Date published: 2017-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books! My cousin from Calgary sent me this book, saying it was his favourite of the year. After reading it, I could see that he was right. It offers a very interesting perspective on human nature that is refreshing and new.
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good story with a lot of heart Well written and intriguing, The Humans is a very sweet and sometimes profound book.
Date published: 2017-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really enjoyed this read I found this book hard to put down once I started. I was curious the whole way through thinking of how things would end. It was a good.
Date published: 2017-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Reason Why I Keep Reading Once in a while, I am not hooked on a book immediately. I never give up though; I read to the end even if it turns out to be a disappointment. This book is the reason why. The first bit did not hook me (confession: I'm not a 'space' fan, and it just didn't grab me from the beginning) but I quickly fell into the story. It was a wonderful book - that made me alternate between being ashamed to be a human, and very proud to be one. I read it carefully - fully planning to re-sell it when I finished, but but now it has a permanent home in my library.
Date published: 2017-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must-Read! A funny and touching book about what it means to be human. I will be telling everybody I know to read this one!
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This isn't Mork and Mindy, but a somewhat more serious look at an alien from space who inhabits the form of a Cambridge University professor. He has come here for a purpose but ... I won't give away the story except to say I was captivated by how the alien perceived people. Totally readable.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable and Profound I loved the little tidbits and insights to human nature and human behavior this book provided. While a bit slow, it was still a really enjoyable read.
Date published: 2017-03-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read! The story starts off with an extraterrestrial visitor who takes the form of a professor named Andrew Martin in order to complete a mission assigned to him from inhabitants of his own planet. At first, the alien is disgusted by how humans look and depressed by the history of human word. However, the alien soon has a change of heart when he discovers more about being human thanks to a dog, Emily Dickinson's poetry, music and peanut butter. This was a very heartwarming novel and it was beautifully written. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Funny and Poignant Love it! Smart and funny is the best combo
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Enjoyed Perfect mix of funny and dark themes. Hope to reread soon!
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprising, smart and delightful! Written as a report to his home world, an alien interloper tells the harrowing tale of how he deigns to stop humanity from destroying itself and in the process finds an unlikely home amongst these smelly, stupid humans. I laughed out loud and even shed a few tears at this intelligent and insightful look at what defines us as human, warts and all.
Date published: 2016-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A different persepctive Exploring through someone else's life and trying to make sense of the complex relationships people have.
Date published: 2016-11-12
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

Editorial Reviews

“Matt Haig has an empathy for the human condition, the light and the dark of it, and he uses the full palette to build his excellent stories.”