The Humans

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The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with his funniest, most devastating dark comedy yet, a “silly, sad, suspenseful, and soulful” (Philadelphia Inquirer) novel that’s “full of heart” (Entertainment Weekly).

When an extra-terrestrial 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 ...

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The Humans

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Overview

The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with his funniest, most devastating dark comedy yet, a “silly, sad, suspenseful, and soulful” (Philadelphia Inquirer) novel that’s “full of heart” (Entertainment Weekly).

When an extra-terrestrial 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 home to his own utopian planet, where everyone is omniscient and immortal.

He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, their capacity for murder and war, and 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 strange species than he had thought. Disguised as Martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, develops an ear for rock music, and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family. He begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfection, and begins to question the very mission that brought him there.

Praised by The New York Times as a “novelist of great seriousness and talent,” author 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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1859, German mathematician Bernard Riemann put forth a hypothesis that prime numbers have a pattern. In 2012, an unnamed alien is sent to Earth to ensure the hypothesis is never proven. The Vonnadorians wish to prevent humans from gaining knowledge before they are psychologically prepared for the advancements that would ensue. The invader inhabits the body of Andrew Martin, the arrogant and selfish mathematician who discovered the proof to Riemann’s hypothesis; at first disgusted and confused by his human shell, the alien is eventually transformed, and the more time he spends with Andrew’s wife and son, the more he comes to doubt his mission. Haig (The Radleys) creates a delightful sense of displacement in “Andrew” and draws the reader into the experiences that make us human, ugly, wonderful, and mundane by turns. While at times the novel is sentimental, the wonder and humor with which the protagonist approaches life, and the many emotions and discoveries he experiences, are worth getting a bit weepy over. Agent: Andrea Joyce, Canongate. (July)
Entertainment Weekly
“Funny, poignant and full of heart.”
"Parade Picks" Parade
“Matt Haig is a novelist of stunning talent, with a laser eye for the absurd and endless reserves of compassion.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
The Humans is by turns silly, sad, suspenseful and soulful….Haig manages…to burrow beneath clichés as he explores the meaning of sentimentality, loyalty, love, and mortality….Haig's insights are often compelling.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“At its heart, this novel is really about the art of being human and all that entails.”
Bookpage
“A surprisingly touching and often hilarious tale….Haig elevates the premise with his deft, humor-rich storytelling skills. A reverence for mathematics and history also runs through the book, cutting through some of the sentimentality with a healthy dose of intellectualism. The Humans is an engaging summer read.”
BookReporter
The Humans is a breathtaking novel…eye-opening and endlessly fascinating. Matt Haig has created a masterpiece of fiction that should be required reading for all who inhabit this great big ball we call Earth.”
Booklist
“A thought-provoking, compulsively readable delight.”
Amazing Stories Magazine
“[The Humans] is a poignant and emotional examination into the value of the human experience, complete with a central character that you care for, root for and perhaps even cry for….engaging….a good read.”
Naples News
“[Matt Haig has] a keen eye for homo sapien goofiness, spot-on observations on our foibles, and satire you could spread with a knife….There’s cleverness and wit all over each page.”
#1 recommended read Diesel Newsletter
“Haig writes with wit and surety, so convincingly other-worldly that it could cause a person to wonder.”
Parallel Worlds Magazine
“Beautifully written…inspiring.”
"Best Beach Reads" Complex.com
“Matt Haig's The Humans boasts the best sci-fi concept we've heard in years.”
RedCarpetCrash.com
“An engrossing new novel.”
Shelf Awareness
“A funny and touching tale about an alien who visits and experiences the weird and often frightening beauty of being human.”
RVAnews.com
“Matt Haig’s keen sense of observation stands out….[The Humans is] a careful examination of the very things that make us human….Haig has written a book that causes readers to consider the flaws in humanity while also appreciating its powerful beauty.”
Jeanette Winterson
"The Humans is a laugh-and-cry book. Troubling, thrilling, puzzling, believable and impossible. Matt Haig uses words like a tin-opener. We are the tin."
New York Times bestselling author of Before I go to Sleep - S.J. Watson
"A brilliant exploration of what it is to love, and to be human, The Humans is both heartwarming and hilarious, weird, and utterly wonderful. One of the best books I've read in a very long time."
award-winning author of Chocolat - Joanne Harris
The Humans is tremendous; a kind of Curious Incident meets The Man Who Fell to Earth. It’s funny, touching and written in a highly appealing voice.”
author of The Crane Wife - Patrick Ness
“Lovely stuff. So heartfelt, touching and funny.”
Mark Billingham
"Utterly wonderful."
Booklist (starred review)
“A thought-provoking, compulsively readable delight.”
The Guardian
"A literary virtuoso… Matt Haig is a supreme talent and a writer to cherish, and The Humans is undoubtedly his magnum opus."
Entertainment Weekly

“Funny, poignant and full of heart.”
Booklist
“A thought-provoking, compulsively readable delight.”
"Parade Picks" Parade

“Matt Haig is a novelist of stunning talent, with a laser eye for the absurd and endless reserves of compassion.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

The Humans is by turns silly, sad, suspenseful and soulful….Haig manages…to burrow beneath clichés as he explores the meaning of sentimentality, loyalty, love, and mortality….Haig's insights are often compelling.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“At its heart, this novel is really about the art of being human and all that entails.”
Amazing Stories Magazine

“[The Humans] is a poignant and emotional examination into the value of the human experience, complete with a central character that you care for, root for and perhaps even cry for….engaging….a good read.”
Bookpage

“A surprisingly touching and often hilarious tale….Haig elevates the premise with his deft, humor-rich storytelling skills. A reverence for mathematics and history also runs through the book, cutting through some of the sentimentality with a healthy dose of intellectualism. The Humans is an engaging summer read.”
Naples News

“[Matt Haig has] a keen eye for homo sapien goofiness, spot-on observations on our foibles, and satire you could spread with a knife….There’s cleverness and wit all over each page.”
#1 recommended read Diesel Newsletter

“Haig writes with wit and surety, so convincingly other-worldly that it could cause a person to wonder.”
Parallel Worlds Magazine

“Beautifully written…inspiring.”
"Best Beach Reads" Complex.com

“Matt Haig's The Humans boasts the best sci-fi concept we've heard in years.”
RedCarpetCrash.com

“An engrossing new novel.”
Shelf Awareness

“A funny and touching tale about an alien who visits and experiences the weird and often frightening beauty of being human.”
RVAnews.com

“Matt Haig’s keen sense of observation stands out….[The Humans is] a careful examination of the very things that make us human….Haig has written a book that causes readers to consider the flaws in humanity while also appreciating its powerful beauty.”
BookReporter

The Humans is a breathtaking novel…eye-opening and endlessly fascinating. Matt Haig has created a masterpiece of fiction that should be required reading for all who inhabit this great big ball we call Earth.”
Booklist (starred review)

“A thought-provoking, compulsively readable delight.”
From the Publisher
"The Humans is a laugh-and-cry book. Troubling, thrilling, puzzling, believable and impossible. Matt Haig uses words like a tin-opener. We are the tin."

"A brilliant exploration of what it is to love, and to be human, The Humans is both heartwarming and hilarious, weird, and utterly wonderful. One of the best books I've read in a very long time."

The Humans is tremendous; a kind of Curious Incident meets The Man Who Fell to Earth. It’s funny, touching and written in a highly appealing voice.”

“Lovely stuff. So heartfelt, touching and funny.”

"Utterly wonderful."

author of The Crane Wife - Patrick Ness

“Lovely stuff. So heartfelt, touching and funny.”
Jeanette Winterson

"The Humans is a laugh-and-cry book. Troubling, thrilling, puzzling, believable and impossible. Matt Haig uses words like a tin-opener. We are the tin."
New York Times bestselling author of Before I go to Sleep - S.J. Watson

"A brilliant exploration of what it is to love, and to be human, The Humans is both heartwarming and hilarious, weird, and utterly wonderful. One of the best books I've read in a very long time."
award-winning author of Chocolat - Joanne Harris

The Humans is tremendous; a kind of Curious Incident meets The Man Who Fell to Earth.It’s funny, touching and written in a highly appealing voice.”
Mark Billingham

"Utterly wonderful."
Kirkus Reviews
A fish-out-of water mashup where the water is Earth, and the fish is an extraterrestrial. Professor Andrew Martin has solved the Riemann hypothesis. A mathematical problem of fiendish difficulty, it explains the distribution of prime numbers. This is big news in a galaxy far, far away. The Vonnadorians, in their wisdom, believe we humans are unprepared for this breakthrough. They are so concerned, in fact, they kidnap Professor Martin, of Cambridge University, and send a Vonnadorian to destroy the proof and kill everyone Martin informed. Alien/Martin assumes the shape and identity of human/Martin to insinuate himself into the world. Our alien assassin is narrator and protagonist. And in spite of extraordinary Vonnadorian technology, he is, to quote Foghorn Leghorn, about as sharp as a bag of wet mice, and a softie to boot. He falls away from the rational principles of his distant world, develops a taste for crunchy whole-nut peanut butter and Australian wine, admiration for "his" dog, Newton, love for "his" wife, Isobel, and Gulliver, "his" angst-y teen son. Haig goes all-in on the alien-goes-native humor, and then he goes further. Turns out, human/Martin was an arrogant jerk, while alien/Martin falls hard for our little blue planet, for our contradictions and our mortality, our joys and our follies, for the Beach Boys and Emily Dickinson. Alien/Martin becomes more expert on us humans than dozens of self-help–book authors: "I felt blue with sadness, red with rage and green with envy. I felt the entire human rainbow." A saccharine novel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476727912
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Matt Haig is the bestselling author of several children’s books and novels, including The Radleys, winner of the ALA Alex Award. An alumnus of Hull University and Leeds, his work has been translated into twenty-nine languages. He lives in York with his wife, UK novelist Andrea Semple, and their two children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    While reading The Humans, I'm sure I'm not the only one who was

    While reading The Humans, I'm sure I'm not the only one who was reminded of the television series 3rd Rock from the Sun, and at one point, of the ST:TNG episode Encounter at Farpoint. There's a bit of The Doctor in our alien protagonist as well. But don't be fooled into thinking this novel is some sort of knock-off: the execution is fabulously unique. Matt Haig takes us on a brilliant and imaginative journey through the human experience, the best and the worst.

    With short, easy-to-devour chapters bearing titles such as Detached Nouns and Other Early Trials for the Language Learner and The Melancholy Beauty of the Setting Sun, I raced through this book. I could not wait to read more, but I didn't want to miss a thing.

    And may I just say, I am completely jealous that the Vonnadorians can consume books in capsule form! Seriously?!

    I can't rave about this book enough. It's thoughtful. Wise. Funny. Tender. Uplifting. Thrilling (there was an awesome unexpected twist!). I was hanging on every word, each moment for its own reason, all the way to the very end. The Humans swept me away; it is by far my new favorite read of 2013. 

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Loved this funny and thought-provoking book and would highly rec

    Loved this funny and thought-provoking book and would highly recommend it. This book has a place on my all-time top 10 list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2014

    Humanist "Screwtape Letters"

    Could have been a bit more daring but, then again, it's British. Can an alien be a better father, husband, dog owner and teacher than the man he replaces? Pathos, humor and hints of Douglas Addams. Enjoyed it, mostly, but wasn't seriously impressed.

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  • Posted September 5, 2014

    Easy five stars

    "The Humans" is an astonishing and unique novel on what it means to be human. The story is told in the first-person narrative through the eyes of an alien who, after first looking at people with scorn but gradually experiencing and witnessing positive attributes of people, chooses to join humanity. The plot is entirely character-driven. You don't have to be a sci-fi lover to love this book. The author, Matt Haig, plumbs the depths of human-ness, the good, the bad and the ugly, with a tremendous amount of insight and compassion. It earns a solid five out of five star rating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    Great book!

    Loved this book as told through the eyes of an alien having a human experience. I frequently laughed out loud while reading it. While much of the book is very funny, it is not without depth, heart or longing, and the final chapters do turn a bit more somber and reflective. But, it is overall uplifting. I found myself talking to anyone who would listen about this book.

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  • Posted September 13, 2013

    Loved this book and the narrator's view of humans. It was humoro

    Loved this book and the narrator's view of humans. It was humorous, enlightening and engaging.

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  • Posted August 29, 2013

    An Alien is sent to Earth to take the place of Andrew Martin a p

    An Alien is sent to Earth to take the place of Andrew Martin a professor that has solved Riemann's hypothesis. It seems like no big thing to humans but to the aliens they know it is the first step in humans discovering their world and about them. The alien has to find the answer and destroy it. He knows all about humans how they have let war, disease and more ruin their lives. What he learns is there is so much more to these humans and what it is like to be one.




    The author has written this book in a way that gives it a spin unlike other books you may read. The alien who is a clone for Andrew Martin is detailing you what he is going through on his search. He has to act human to find where the professor has put the answer. You get to see what we would look and act like to an alien. He has several hard times as he doesn't understand us as you see from the start he provides a few laughs as he gets to understand what we are. He learns to bond with Andrew's teenage son and wife and in a way fixes personnel problems the professor has. This book isn't the usual alien book but one that you will either love or hate. I really enjoyed it as the author has a wonderful way with words.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2013

    I loved this book! It was funny, sad, inspirational, thought pr

    I loved this book! It was funny, sad, inspirational, thought provoking, alien and human. It is on my favorites list. Thank you Mr. Haig.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

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