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The Humans: A Novel | [Matt Haig]

The Humans: A Novel

The critically acclaimed author of The Radleys shares a clever, heartwarming, and darkly insightful novel about an alien who comes to Earth to save humans from themselves. When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he has been led to believe. Eventually, the narrator sees hope and redemption in the humans' imperfections and begins to question the very mission that brought him there.

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Publisher's Summary

The critically acclaimed author of The Radleys shares a clever, heartwarming, and darkly insightful novel about an alien who comes to Earth to save humans from themselves.

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 leading mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor wants to complete his task and go back home, to the planet he comes from, and a utopian society of immortality and infinite knowledge.

He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, the wars they witness on the news, and totally baffled by such 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. He drinks wine, reads Emily Dickinson, listens to Talking Heads, and begins to bond with the family he lives with, in disguise. In picking up the pieces of the professor's shattered personal life, the narrator sees hope and redemption in the humans' imperfections and begins to question the very mission that brought him there. A mission that involves not only thwarting human progress... but murder.

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 very messiness of life on Earth. The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject - ourselves.

©2013 Matt Haig (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (168 )
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3.9 (151 )
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4.3 (149 )
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Performance
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  •  
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 07-07-13
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 07-07-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Adorable alien story"

    So you've seen it before: alien comes to Earth with preconceived notions of our planet only to be won over. In fact, at the beginning, even Mr. Haig's cleverness seems to be unable to pull you into the plot ("Come on," you say to yourself, "I've seen this movie a million times!")...but, ultimately, the cleverness draws you in. His observations (from the alien's point of view) are simply too funny (sometimes laugh out loud funny) -- even when they're painfully spot on. The alien is quite likable and convincing in his, well, humanness. The Humans might be nothing more than a light beach read (I actually did listen to most of it at the beach), but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am looking forward to Mr. Haig's next novel.

    Mr. Meadows does an extremely good job capturing the alien's innocence and sense of wonder. A perfect choice for the narrator.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Eastlick 05-21-14
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    "Great entertainment"
    Where does The Humans rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Best audiobook so far


    What did you like best about this story?

    Unusual story. I didn't want it to end.


    What does Mark Meadows bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Mark Meadows was brilliant. He nailed the characters and the tone of his voice was very pleasant. I will seek out more of his audiobooks.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me laugh and cry.


    Any additional comments?

    Please find more books like this.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John-Michael Nashville 08-22-14
    John-Michael Nashville 08-22-14 Member Since 2014

    Searching and discovering books in the slimmest demographic: adult males.

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    "Safe to Use a Credit On"

    You may not be inspired and radically change your life after reading this one, but you won;t regret spending a credit on it.

    The story is slightly above average at best, but the analytical process of a 'fish out of water' comes across as humorous and entertaining, and in the end, didn't disappoint.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GeeBee Charlottesville, VA, United States 11-29-13
    GeeBee Charlottesville, VA, United States 11-29-13 Member Since 2013

    GinaBee

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    "A novel to ponder..."
    Where does The Humans rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    My favorite so far and a far stretch from my preferred genre.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the way the author makes the reader think about what type of human being he or she is, without getting bogged down in all of the things that divide us like religion, racism, sexism, act. Even an alien figured out those things should not matter.


    What does Mark Meadows bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The naiveness of the alien as he starts his new life on earth. There is something about the way it is read…these nuances would not have been as noticeable when reading the book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The list of advice given to Oliver. I listened to it a couple of times.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book to listen too. I am not sure I would have finished reading the book (and I still enjoy turning pages).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dennis fresno, CA, United States 08-28-13
    dennis fresno, CA, United States 08-28-13 Member Since 2011

    Reading and listening goes straight into your medulla oblongota and you learn through thought memory. It's like being programmed into intelligence. If you read this, you just learned that the best gifts are free. Or One Credit... and that's kinda free.

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    "A study in who you are. Well not me, him."

    Step by step talk of who we might be from the perspective of an alien who becomes..well....near human.

    Great, shorter listen....stop and go chapter pace was different and odd. Albeit, in my opinion a good odd, but diary-oddness none the less.

    Of What It Means to be Human: 1-100. A bit too many lessons to be learned. Funny and overall, entertaining and..... I wanted to keep going (unlike Pandora's Star!..). Missed the lesson of if you're not with the one you love, love the one you're with.

    Of this new author I can say this. Talented and this was indeed creative. I see you penning a futuristic tale of survival and me.......us.........listening.

    And as it turns out, being human is a preferable trait.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nasser Eldeeb Toronto, ON Canada 05-26-15
    Nasser Eldeeb Toronto, ON Canada 05-26-15
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    "Very entertaining and smart. Funny in parts."

    Very enjoyable book. I finished reading it two days ago. The author is smart. He chose a subject that opens wide doors for him to: 1. Easily introduces funny ideas for him and his readers, and 2. Allows him to criticize us as humans from outside the box, while protecting himself from the possible resulting criticism.

    Of course (ha ha, my opinion only) english humour is, almost, the best, that's one major reason why this novel was very enjoyable, but still, the author could have added some more sarcasm, and I am sure he was capable.

    To add my Very personal opinion. Strong opinion (of course) :) the author is really sunk and confused with his secular misunderstandings, such as 'evolution' and 'intelligent life out there.' Maskeen :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andreas Norway 04-11-15
    Andreas Norway 04-11-15 Member Since 2013
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    "A great start that unfortunately didn't last"

    When I first read about this book, I was stoked, and the first part of the book didn't disappoint. It has the quirkiness of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the TV shows The Neighbors and 3rd Rock From the Sun, and similar setups. However, as the story progresses, it frankly shifts genre a little bit, and loses a lot of its appeal in the process. I finished it, and I'm overall glad I bought it, but truth be told I was waiting for it to be over at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 03-29-15
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 03-29-15 Member Since 2007

    The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easy, funny and insightful"

    Funny and scifi seldom go together, but when they do and it works, it is a wonderful thing. “The Humans” managed to make me laugh out loud, many times. The observations about the human condition were often spot-on, going beyond the trite to really make me think in a few cases. Overall, an enjoyable read that I think is particularly accessible to people who wouldn’t normally read scifi.

    [I listened to this as an audio book read by Mark Meadows, who did a fantastic job. I think this is a case in which listening would be better than reading the book, because Mr. Meadows’ delivery added a lot to the droll nature of the humor.]

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fuzzy 03-05-15
    Fuzzy 03-05-15

    Fuzzy Logic

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dumb"
    What disappointed you about The Humans?

    Too much description about someone/something coming into the human world, while at the same time incredibly knowledgeable. It didn't gel.


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    The narrator was saddled with a difficult story and did a great job.


    Any additional comments?

    I waited too long to listen to the book and couldn't return it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy 01-11-15
    Wendy 01-11-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Mix of decent drama/comedy with preachy platitudes"
    What disappointed you about The Humans?

    Plenty of authors have used a visiting foreigner or visiting alien as a vehicle for the authors' opinions about their own societies; suggesting that a naive outsider would observe something or reach some opinion that the people in that society are too blind to notice might be more convincing than the author putting that observation in his own mouth. The Humans is basically in that vein and not the best at it. Not only is most of the "message" trite proverbs, capped by a numbered list of sayings seemingly made for pasting into Facebook e-cards, but there is a lot of overexplanation in the dialogue (even from human characters). The number of callouts of favorite poets and musicians is especially annoying. You never get a good sense of what the character knows or does not know at any given time about humans, speaking English, or the background of Andrew Martin - his awareness of these fluctuates wildly from scene to scene.
    On the positive side, when it's aiming to be funny, it's usually very good, with many great jokes and asides (at the expense of the alien, the humans or both) especially early on when the narrator is most unfamiliar with Earth. The drama of the family at the center, setting aside the greeting-card fodder, really is a touching story; some of the choices aren't really believable given what we know of what the alien knows about humans, but


    What three words best describe Mark Meadows’s voice?

    The voice was fine both as Andrew Martin and the other characters (the tone of The Hosts was particularly good). However, when Martin talks about the Drake equation (on the chance of discovering alien life) he reads variables like f-subscript-p (not a superscript) as "f to the power of p". Sure, this isn't a science book, but from an intergalactic math genius, impersonating one of Earth's great mathematicians and able to read his proofs, that's an embarrassing mistake.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Humans?

    Any of the cases which call out poets or musicians, except where that is truly important to the plot which is probably never. Since the introduction sets out that the book is written on Earth in English but for a Valmadorean audience (and this notion is reinforced by asides throughout) that name-dropping is even more grating than it is in books ostensibly written for human audiences.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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