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The Humans: A Novel Paperback – August 12, 2014
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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*Starred Review* The alien comes to Earth from Vonnadoria, an almost incomprehensibly advanced world; he comes with a sinister purpose, both to destroy and to collect information, hoping to rob human beings of their future. Assuming the person of Professor Andrew Martin, a celebrated mathematician who has made a dangerous discovery, he sets coldly and calculatedly to work. But there is a problem: though disgusted at first by humans, whom he regards as motivated only by violence and greed, he gradually comes to understand that humans are more complex than that, and, most dangerous to his mission, he discovers music, poetry, and . . . love. Becoming increasingly sympathetic to humans, he will ultimately do the unthinkable. The ever-imaginative Haig—The Dead Fathers Club (2007), The Radleys (2010)—has created an extraordinary alien sensibility and, though writing with a serious purpose (the future is at stake), has great good fun with the being’s various eyebrow-raising blunders as he struggles to emulate human behavior. 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. --Michael Cart --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"A literary virtuoso… Matt Haig is a supreme talent and a writer to cherish, and The Humans is undoubtedly his magnum opus." (The Guardian)
“Funny, poignant and full of heart.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Matt Haig is a novelist of stunning talent, with a laser eye for the absurd and endless reserves of compassion.” (Parade, "Parade Picks")
“The Humans is by turns silly, sad, suspenseful and soulful….Haig manages…to burrow beneath clichés as he explores the meaning of sentimentality, loyalty, love, and mortality….Haig's insights are often compelling.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
“At its heart, this novel is really about the art of being human and all that entails.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
“A surprisingly touching and often hilarious tale….Haig elevates the premise with his deft, humor-rich storytelling skills. A reverence for mathematics and history also runs through the book, cutting through some of the sentimentality with a healthy dose of intellectualism. The Humans is an engaging summer read.” (Bookpage)
“The Humans is a breathtaking novel…eye-opening and endlessly fascinating. Matt Haig has created a masterpiece of fiction that should be required reading for all who inhabit this great big ball we call Earth.” (BookReporter)
“A thought-provoking, compulsively readable delight.” (Booklist (starred review))
"Delightful." (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Quick-paced, touching, and hilarious.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“[The Humans] is a poignant and emotional examination into the value of the human experience, complete with a central character that you care for, root for and perhaps even cry for….engaging….a good read.” (Amazing Stories Magazine)
“[Matt Haig has] a keen eye for homo sapien goofiness, spot-on observations on our foibles, and satire you could spread with a knife….There’s cleverness and wit all over each page.” (Naples News)
“Haig writes with wit and surety, so convincingly other-worldly that it could cause a person to wonder.” (Diesel Newsletter, #1 recommended read)
“Beautifully written…inspiring.” (Parallel Worlds Magazine)
“Matt Haig's The Humans boasts the best sci-fi concept we've heard in years.” (Complex.com, "Best Beach Reads")
“An engrossing new novel.” (RedCarpetCrash.com)
“A funny and touching tale about an alien who visits and experiences the weird and often frightening beauty of being human.” (Shelf Awareness)
“Matt Haig’s keen sense of observation stands out….[The Humans is] a careful examination of the very things that make us human….Haig has written a book that causes readers to consider the flaws in humanity while also appreciating its powerful beauty.” (RVAnews.com)
"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 New York Times bestselling author of Before I go to Sleep)
“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.” (Joanne Harris award-winning author of Chocolat)
“Lovely stuff. So heartfelt, touching and funny.” (Patrick Ness author of The Crane Wife)
"Utterly wonderful." (Mark Billingham) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
In many ways, this gentle, elegant story is a secular revisit to C.S. Lewis's Screwtape letters. It's humanist message is similar, even expected, but delivered with such grace and insight that even a jaded reader is bewitched by its charm. There are many laugh-out-loud moments, as well as some more poignant ones, but the story never becomes trite or overwrought.
Reading this book is like an exhale at the end of a long journey. You see a little more clearly, and maybe even feel a little more deeply, the great beauty of people.
You should read The Humans. It will make you a better one.
As I read the book, I wanted to highlight, underline and make notes in the margins because there were so many profound and eloquent statements and questions, but I couldn't pause to do that because I was obsessed with the characters and the story. I laughed out loud. I cried. I grew so much smarter and wiser. (Can't promise I'll hang on to all that and apply it to my life, but I'll at least try.) The alien life-form that exists inside the body of Andrew Martin starts out motivated by hatred and he's on a mission of destruction, based on the beliefs of the civilization he's been a part of forever. Life in his galaxy is so perfect, no one questions anything. Mathematics is their religion and they have no physical or emotional connection to each other, also no death, disease or pain. Their lives are perfect.
Alien Andrew reminds me of Huckleberry Finn when he realizes that Jim is human, like himself, after taking for granted, for his whole life, that slaves were not as human as their white owners and to think of them as human was a crime.
I realize that I'm favorably prejudiced toward Alien Andrew because he grows to value the same things that I value, among them: family, Emily Dickinson, Debussy and dogs. His pilgrim observations of everything we take for granted are sometimes hilarious and sometimes life changing if you take them to heart. I need to read it again, and this time highlight and make those notes. I'm stunned and enlightened and it feels good.
The story itself is a beautiful rendering of one finding one's place in this world and learning what is truly important in the time that we have on this planet. I came away from this Having learned new things and very introspective. And I also bought some of Emily Dickinson's poems and I'm glad I did.
I think that this book would appeal to anybody who enjoys a thoughtful book that doesn't just tell a story it also adds to your own. I highly recommend it and I'm very glad that I read it.
The Humans is narrated by an alien as an account of human condition. It’s wry, humorous, puzzling, and negative at first. The alien is sent to Earth to kill Professor Andrew Martin, who made a discovery that will advance human race to the level that humans won’t be able to handle-no aging, no illnesses-and will wreck everything around them as a result, highly intelligent aliens including. They can’t afford it. They must stop it. They must destroy the information, and, of course, since information lives in people’s heads, they must kill people. He must kill people. He takes on a shape of Andrew Martin. And this is when the fun starts. He, Andrew now, has no concept of clothing or why one should be clothed, he doesn’t know English and has to learn it, fast, by reading Cosmopolitan, he is appalled by static buildings that don’t move for some reason, and he hates the feeling of rain on his skin. Oh, of course, he has a wife and a son, and he must face them soon. And, well, the rest you’ll have to read for yourself. You will laugh and cry and love this book. Guaranteed.
Most recent customer reviews
I had not read any of his works prior to this - but I am now a fan.Read more