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The Humans Hardcover – 9 May 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 903 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 9 May 2013
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (9 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857868756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857868756
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.6 x 22 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (903 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"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" (JEANETTE WINTERSON)

"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" (S J WATSON)

"Utterly wonderful" (MARK BILLINGHAM)


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


"Matt Haig's hilarious novel puts our species on the spot" (Guardian)

"A wonderfully funny, gripping and inventive novel. Like Kurt Vonnegut and Audrey Niffenegger, Haig uses the tropes of science fiction to explore and satirise concepts of free will, love, marriage, logic, immortality and mercy with elegance and poignancy" (The Times)

"Extraordinary" (The Independent)

"Excellent . . . very human and touching indeed" (PATRICK NESS)

"Astute, drolly hilarious and occasionally beautiful, full of poignant and painful insight into what it is to be human" (Jay Richardson The List)

"Haig strikes exactly the right tone of bemusement, discovery, and wonder in creating what is ultimately a sweet-spirited celebration of humanity and the trials and triumphs of being human. The result is a thought-provoking, compulsively readable delight" (Booklist)

"This is a book I can see myself returning to again and again. I love it!" (Curiosity Killed The Bookworm)

"The Humans is a romantic look at people, at what builds us and what we have achieved. This can be seen in the wistful glances of poetry and music. If you took out all of the narrative aspects, The Humans could be seen as a collection of essays from a man pondering his own existence. Thank you Matt, for this map you have drawn for me and many others" (Utter Biblio)

"My praise for this book is never-ending - I genuinely haven't loved a book as much as I love this one, in a very long time - and I'm sure that it will stay with me for a very long time to come. This is a book that I think everyone - regardless of your preferred genres - should pick up and read. It will have you laughing, give you goosebumps, make you gasp, bring a tear to your eye, and warm you from the inside out. This is, in my opinion, a perfect masterpiece" (Pen to Paper)

"THE HUMANS is the best thing I've read this year by a mile. It's going straight on my list of books I wish I'd written" (GAVIN EXTENCE author of The Universe versus Alex Woods)

"This is a tender, funny novel about the often irrational ways humans behave, written in accessible prose, and invites comparison with Mark Haddon and Patrick Ness" (The Independent on Sunday)

"A novel with an enormous heart, infused with a sense of gratitude for everything that makes us who we are" (Charlotte Heathcote Daily Express)

"Haig's unexpectedly raw tale of love, belonging, and peanut butter... It's funny, clever and quite, quite lovely" (Sam Baker Sunday Times)

"It's hard to describe just how good The Humans is. It's a book that has something for everybody. After all, it's about all of us. Funny and life affirming, it's one of those rarest of books; a feel good read that will stay with you long after reading. Read it, share it, live it" (Robin's Books)

"Witty and insightful and brilliantly written in a way that makes it easy to love" (Liz Loves Books)

"The Humans is thoughtful, hopeful and honest and I loved every page" (So Little Time)

"Full of dark humour and dry one-liners, and (former broadsheet journalist) Haig's unfussy style makes it an easy, enjoyable read" (The Forester)

"A delightful, refreshing, humorous book that will remind you to treasure the joy in life" (What Hannah Read)

"Great idea, great plot and superb comedy, especially from the alien's puzzled analyses of primitive human ways" (Daily Mail)

Book Description

The new novel from the author of The Radleys, the TV Book Club hit of 2011

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I discovered this book at Waterstones, and within the first few pages it had me giggling, so I decided to buy it on the Kindle store the moment I got home (because unfortunately I don't have the space for anymore books, they have to take up my hard drive instead).

If you are unsure as to what this book is about, the premise is this: an alien from an incredible advanced world light years away from our own, is sent to Earth on a mission to clear all evidence of a particular scientific breakthrough that scientist Andrew Martin has discovered. Hours after this scientific breakthrough, Andrew Martin is killed, and an unnamed alien has taken residence inside Professor Martin's body. All he has to do is get rid of any evidence of this breakthrough, and exterminate anyone who knows of its discovery. But will our unnamed narrator go through with his mission statement, or will he fall prey to human emotions and find himself unable to go through with it?

I dived into the book only grasping a very loose idea of the premise, so as to what would happen was beyond me. This constant state of the unknown is what helped keep the pages turning, especially during the first 100 pages of the book, as during that time I found it quite difficult to connect with Andrew (I will refer to the main character as "Andrew", as although the narrator is left unnamed, "Andrew" is the name of the body he inhabits.), and I'm unsure as to why, perhaps it was because his reflections were of the more negative persuasion? Eventually though, Andrew won me over. In particular, his scenes with his dog Newton were my favourite. The fact that he's able to communicate with him (despite being in a human body) is a humorous notion, and his scenes with Newton always left me smiling.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was my first exposure to Matt Haig's writing, and I've fallen in love with his voice, his honesty and remarkable insight. It's an important novel that doesn't read like an important novel. Overall, I think it's best described as a love letter to humanity.

It follows the account of a nameless alien who takes over the body of a mathematician who's discovered something the alien civilisation doesn't believe the people of Earth can yet handle. So he comes to Earth with the mission to destroy the evidence of the discovery and to kill everyone who knows about it.

Something funny happens along the way. He begins to interact, to have his curiosity engaged. He learns what it means to be human, and in sharing this insightful and funny account, also tells a love story.

I'd seen other readers saying the book made them cry. It made me wary at first, because I don't like tragedy. After having read it, I can report that I did cry at the end, but not because it was tragic, but because it was perfect and beautiful, the way a person might cry at a wedding, the birth of a baby, or at receiving good news. The ending was perfect and gave a message of love and hope that was never sappy, never self-important, but sweet and subtle, like first love.

I would recommend this book to anyone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is such a lovely book. Beautiful. Elegiac. Philosophical. And about as honest appraisal of the ridiculous lives us humans lead as you'll ever find in fiction. You need to read it, right now.

Actually, it's a hug of a book, a story that will resonate with everyone, a story of what it is to be human by someone who is dispassionate enough to really know. Starman meets the Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time x The Man Who Fell to Earth.

When Professor Andrew Martin solves an enormously complex algorithm that unlocks the secret of prime numbers, solving the Riemann equation that has been unresolved for years, he just has to die. And our nameless alien protagonist is sent to kill him across space and time, replacing him physically so as to use the unfortunate Professor's body to find out who else has learnt the secret of the Riemann equation so they too can be killed. This superior knowledge cannot be left in human hands, because, you see, the Riemann solution will enable humans, once enough of them have understood it, to advance so rapidly they'll be able to spread across the known Universe. Something the superior beings sending our assassin cannot allow to happen.

There's just one flaw in their plan. In order to blend in as a human, the alien assassin takes the form of one and begins to fall in love with our chaotic and ridiculous lives. Professor Andrew Martin, turns out, is a bit of a bastard. Emotionally distant from his wife and teenage son, Gulliver, a workaholic with no time for anyone but the pursuit of mathematical supremacy he has few friends and even fewer redeeming features. But as the alien settles into the man's skin the absurdity of our all too brief lives begins to intrigue it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Humans is a warm hearted, life affirming account of what it is to be human. The premise of the story is an alien arrives on earth charged with the task of taking the place of mathematician, Andrew Martin, and eliminating his wife and son. It's a simple story but, one that is told with such feeling, it latches onto the reader's heart and won't let go. It is through the alien Andrew Martin's eyes that we come to see how terrifying, crazy but ultimately full of promise life is. As this so called imposter insinuates himself into the family, he becomes more and more connected to them. I particularly loved his relationship with the son Gulliver and, when he writes a list of advice for the boy, I was moved to tears. Haig's style of writing is deceptively straight forward, giving the impression of an easy read whilst challenging us to contemplate our very reason for existence. I recommend this book highly and if it doesn't fill you with hope for the human race then nothing will.
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