The Humans

The Humans

Book - 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.

Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., ©2013
ISBN: 9781443423656
Branch Call Number: HAIG
Characteristics: 294 pages
Alternative Title: Humans : a novel

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Staff Book Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

Award-winning author Matt Haig explores the relationships that make us human in his 2014 title The Humans. An extra-terrestrial arrives on Earth to prevent a great mathematics discovery that will change the universe; however his initial disgust of the human species mellows as he becomes acquainted with some of the inhabitants of Cambridge, England, and, ultimately, he questions the need to... (more)


From Library Staff

"lively and entertaining read" - Seline

Comment
SurreyLibrarian May 24, 2019

-Submitted by Seline-
I listened to the audiobook: The Humans by Matt Haig. This is the story of an alien who comes to earth and assumes the likeness of a mathematics professor in order to prevent that professor from a mathematical discovery which may have catastrophic impact on the universe. At... Read More »

Pick it up for a quick read that will stay with you, and an introduction to an author who is attracting great reviews with all his titles.

Comment
SurreyLibraries_Reads Nov 19, 2018

Award-winning author Matt Haig explores the relationships that make us human in his 2014 title The Humans. An extra-terrestrial arrives on Earth to prevent a great mathematics discovery that will change the universe; however his initial disgust of the human species mellows as he becomes acquainte... Read More »


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a
awyss23
Jul 31, 2019

Fantastic. I found it shelved in the science fiction section which technically it is since it's about an Alien who has come to earth. But really it's about what it means to be human. Loved it!

SurreyLibrarian May 24, 2019

-Submitted by Seline-
I listened to the audiobook: The Humans by Matt Haig. This is the story of an alien who comes to earth and assumes the likeness of a mathematics professor in order to prevent that professor from a mathematical discovery which may have catastrophic impact on the universe. At first, the alien is repulsed by humanity and does not understand the meaning behind even the most basic human interactions. However, as his mission extends, he is drawn into the emotional depth of human interactions. He starts to appreciate music and poetry and develop deeper relationships with the family of the man he’s disguised as.

This book was extremely amusing at times and at other times, extremely poignant. It was really interesting to hear perceptions of humanity from an (albeit fictitious) alien perspective. A lively and entertaining read, I would highly recommend The Humans.

j
JLMason
May 13, 2019

There are some insightful and poignant observations about humanity in the book, but the story is otherwise unremarkable.

Award-winning author Matt Haig explores the relationships that make us human in his 2014 title The Humans. An extra-terrestrial arrives on Earth to prevent a great mathematics discovery that will change the universe; however his initial disgust of the human species mellows as he becomes acquainted with some of the inhabitants of Cambridge, England, and, ultimately, he questions the need to eliminate friends and family of Professor Andrew Martin in order to protect the mathematical secret. It could be seen as a gentle first foray into Science Fiction (with alien life, spaceships, and telepathic abilities), but can equally be read as a piece of fiction which illuminates the importance of relationships to the human experience. Pick it up for a quick read that will stay with you, and an introduction to an author who is attracting great reviews with all his titles. (Submitted by Jennifer).

z
zipread
Aug 28, 2018

A good former librarian friend of mine recommended I read "How to Stop Time". What a good novel that was. Both amusing and entertaining with shades of "the Time Travellers Wife" and Heinlein's Lazarus Long (am I reaching back too far into the annexes of Sci Fi when it was still called science fiction for you?)
So "Humans" is part science fiction (easy on the science); less melancholy than Stop Time; plot line that seems sometimes to border on the adolescent; and sometimes whimsical. But it's good. Good enough to be worth a good read: very much on my liked list.

s
skeeb14
Mar 24, 2018

I almost jettisoned this novel after twenty pages or so for being too kitschy -- just so self aware of how cute it was being. I pushed on because some of the lines were genuinely amusing and others were genuinely thought-provoking. Happily that continues throughout the book. While technically I guess this is a comic sci-fi novel (Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut) it really doesn't feel like it. It's about family, the human condition and poetry. It's definitely the only book ever written that can't shut up talking about mathematics without being off-putting, if you can imagine that. It's a breezy, enjoyable read.

k
kkirby221
Feb 24, 2018

Favorite book in a long time. Gave me something to think about. Loved the characters and the setting. On the waiting list for other books by this author.

ArapahoePamelaH Jan 30, 2018

Matt Haig's books examine what it means to be human. In this favorite of mine, an alien sent to earth must learn to pass as a human. He reads an issue of "Cosmopolitan" magazine to learn English, and along the way becomes entranced by us human's ability to love, in all its forms. Wonderful!

m
mattstrelau
Oct 12, 2017

This was an excellent read! The plot was engaging and exciting. It questions major forces that drive humans, well written with a great lineup of characters. A story you hope will not end, but eventually does :(

ArapahoeLesley Nov 09, 2016

A clever and humorous science fiction tale of the differences of what it means to live in a 'civilization' versus what it means to actually be human. I want to read some Dickenson now!

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ravenschild
Mar 05, 2018

ravenschild thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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