It's hardest to belong when you're closest to home....
One wet Friday evening, Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world's greatest mathematical riddle. Then he disappears. When he is found walking naked along the motorway, Professor Martin seems different. Besides the lack of clothes, he now finds normal life pointless. His loving wife and teenage son seem repulsive to him. In fact, he hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton. And he's a dog.
Can a bit of Debussy and Emily Dickinson keep him from murder? Can the species which invented cheap white wine and peanut butter sandwiches be all that bad? And what is the warm feeling he gets when he looks into his wife's eyes?
©2013 Matt Haig (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I came to this by the repeated mentions by Brady haron of the hello internet podcast (audible sponsors the show). This was a fantastic experience, offering excellent insights into humans, love and life. It's a surprisingly philosophical book that well foreshadowed. Honestly, it's the kind of classic that I feel high school English classes should teach.
The performance was good. I listened at 1.25x speed. No complaints, the English accent fit the setting.
"A profound and shining star"
If I could write like Matt Haig I would be able to express how much I adored this book. When there is so much out there that is cynical and crass it is truly astonishing to pick up and read a story that is so profound and full of compassion. On top of that it is funny and exciting and for the first time in my life I appreciate that mathematics does have some point after all.
This has gone into my top ten all time favourite books. Why? Because when his little finger touched hers I thought this expressed more about love than anything I had ever read before.
I am now impatient to read other books from this wonderful author.
This gets an infinite number of stars from me.
"Made Me Feel Better About Us"
I got this book on the strength of reviews, here and elsewhere, and found it to be really enjoyable. It made me laugh a lot - the author has a way of allowing us to see ourselves from the outside which shows just how ridiculous, contradictory, yet endearing humans can be. As someone who has become rather pessimistic about the future of humanity and our inability to do what is necessary to make the world a better place (I include myself here) this book managed to make me see myself and others in a better light. Maybe humans aren't all bad! Thanks Matt Haig for shining a little light into my bleak outlook.
"Surreal,charming, and very.... Human!"
This really wasn't what I expected, but I loved this Audiobook, one of my favourites so far, it's also seriously funny in places.
I can massively recommend it, however I don't want to say too much about it because I don't want to give much away. It IS SciFi, but not in a Star Trek sort of way.
Get this and enjoy it.
"A gentle listen"
I don’t often do this, but I read a few of the other reviews before writing my own. I couldn’t quite work out why I took so long to get into this book.
My typical book selection is from the fantasy genre – both contemporary and epic, with a little sci-fi. Occasionally I need a change of pace, and randomly select something left field for me - this turned out to be one of those selections. It is sci-fi, but not as I expected, and I think perhaps I struggled to embrace its observational approach.
Initially, I was a little bored and although the observations about us humans were well presented, and occasionally amusing, I found it a little obvious and predictable. I did eventually warm to the story and the characters, and by half-way I was enjoying it and was even a little sad to come to the end - I can see how other reviewers have given it good reviews. It has some lovely moments, and the pace does pick up by the midpoint, which is probably what I was struggling with initially.
I have no idea whether the mathematical references are correct or not, but they don't detract from the story. (However, I won’t be able to look at a prime number in the same way ever again.)
It’s a gentle listen; an observation on life as a human being, and how we aren’t all that bad despite our obvious failings.
Mark Meadows does a good job as narrator.
"One of the best"
This has to be one of the best books I have listened to on audible. The narrator is excellent and very easy to listen to. the story is funny, tragic, morbid, comical and ultimately Human.
It makes you look at the simplest things of our everyday lives and gives a different perspective on what it means to be alive and mortal. The beauty of the earth and the wonders of human nature and the world we have created. This book gets a huge big thumbs up from me and I would like to discover more of Matt Haigs books.
"The Frightening Beauty of Being Human"
Professor Andrew Martin, Cambridge mathematician, is dead. An alien, in his body, returns in his place. That would normally be enough to make me switch off, turn away, put the book down - but bear with me - The Humans is utterly brilliant. Everyone should have a copy.
In The Humans Matt Haig manages to avoid being twee, ridiculous or schmaltzy. The novel is almost a series of essays, a meditation on what it means to be human, but leavened with humour and held together with some strong narrative glue.
The Humans is a cross between Fermat’s Last Theorem and ET. It’s a glorious mix of science, poetry and what it means to love.
At its heart, The Humans is a modern-day gender-role reversal of The Little Mermaid, a creature who abandons his own atmosphere, trading a life of ease for one of unending suffering, all for love.
"Not what i expected but all the better for that"
Loved this book and its very quirky story line. The main character is a brilliant vessel into which the author explains what being human is all about. BUT in no way are you lectured just entertained. Just occasionally you realise your thoughts have been challenged and maybe even changed. Best God, no God argument I have ever heard and loved it.
I would urge you to try this book it is humorous and thought provoking at the same time. And in the end do you know what it was all about? I'd love to know?
"Humorous, what-if, feel-good story"
At first the book reminded me of the US sit-com Third Rock from the Sun where aliens from another planet take human-form but are confused by the human way of life leading to many funny situations. There’s a darker side to the book’s story as the alien has come to stop human scientific progress by killing a brilliant mathematics professor and taking on his form. At first the alien has contempt for the bumbling human primitives, however, it gradually gets drawn into family life and becomes ‘humanized’. Much of the book is steeped in somewhat simplistic, feel-good philosophies of life with a fair bit of science bad, the arts good dichotomy. But a few of the homilies did make me ponder on the what it is to be human and just how insignificant we and planet Earth are in the scheme of things.
Overall I enjoyed the book particularly the alien’s naive approach to relationships and bewilderment at what we eat and drink.
The narrator is very good and has a range of accents to dramatise the story.
It is one of those books that I would like to listen to again as I am sure I would hear things I missed the first time.
I liked the main character and his exploration of humanity
When he first arrived on Earth and did not understand to need for clothes so is wandering around naked, smiling and waving to people
When he was on the roof with his son trying to persuade him not to jump was very moving
I enjoyed this audiobook and liked the narrator who really seemed to bring the characters to life.
"thinking of the cloud, I thirsted for the raindrop"
This was a delightful surprise, humorous, entertaining, moving and intelligent.
A new version of going native and forgetting the mission because you see through someone else's eyes. Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University is not perfect by any means but he has just discovered the solution to the Riemann hypothesis, taking human mathematics to new levels, but others in the universe are washing and will not let primitive violent beings take such a leap. So they kill him and replace him with one of their own, so that he can erase all knowledge of his discovery. We are never quite certain if the change is real or if the professor has really just gone crazy. The change is so radical his family feel that in some ways it is positive and he begins to learn what is like to be human.
“Humans, as a rule, don't like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead. But the definition of mad, on Earth, seems to be very unclear and inconsistent. What is perfectly sane in one era turns out to be insane in another. The earliest humans walked around naked with no problem. Certain humans, in humid rainforests mainly, still do so. So, we must conclude that madness is sometimes a question of time, and sometimes of postcode.” ― Matt Haig, The Humans
Some of the observations are simple but true, and they build a perspective of humanity that is forgiving and but knowing of our shortcomings.
A lovely book to laugh out loud and cry a little while it reminds us of a few of the things we have forgotten to love.
“As a black hole forms it creates an immense gamma-ray burst, blinding whole galaxies with light and destroying millions of worlds. You could disappear at any second. This one. Or this one. Or this one. Make sure, as often as possible, you are doing something you’d be happy to die doing.”
― Matt Haig, The Humans
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