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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 Ratings

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  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 07-07-13

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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Not my cup of tea, but others might like it.

Started out strong. It was funny and I was genuinely interested in where the main character was going in his quest. By the end it was a romance novel I wasn't interested in and positivity sappy, saccharine, and trite.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.]

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fun Plus Depth

I enjoyed this imaginative, fast-paced novel in which an alien takes over the body of a British mathematician and develops feelings for and complicated relationships with the man's wife and son. It's a lot of fun as the alien learns about life on Earth, makes wry, sometimes painfully truthful observations about human beings, and starts to appreciate our world. It got a bit preachy at the end, but over all this is a really entertaining novel with depth.

Also, the narrator gave a lively, well acted performance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dee
  • LA
  • 08-07-17

Second listen even better than the first

Any additional comments?

This book was recommended to me by a friend and I've listened to it several times since then. I. Absolutely. Loved. It.<br/><br/>I love all things sci-fi so the fact that the main character is an alien was a bonafide plus for me. His views on human culture and how we interact with each other was poignant and eye-opening and funny, albeit, slightly uncomfortable at times.<br/><br/>This is a very special listen and it's so well-narrated that you can get lost in this word!<br/><br/>My favorite part of the book is the letter he leaves for his "son" towards the end. Words to live by, for sure.<br/><br/>Don't miss out on this listen if it's at all possible. We should all be so lucky.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Clever and engaging

It's so hard not to get immediately sucked into the story of a realistic and modern ET on earth. A great way to think about the paradoxes of being human and a study of what is innate and what is learned. All wrapped up in a heartwarming and humorous narrative. Great story, a must listen!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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).

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • dennis
  • fresno, CA, United States
  • 08-28-13

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great insight with moments of humor

I loved the concept and enjoyed the humorous look at what we humans have constructed as reality. Many truths were imbued in the alien's observations. Though the concept is cute, this book is also full of depth.