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The Humans

Written by: Matt Haig
Narrated by: Mark Meadows
Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Take a hilarious look at human life from an unlikely yet endearing perspective in Matt Haig’s The Humans, narrated in this unabridged audiobook by ever-popular British actor and broadcaster Mark Meadows. This enchanting story has all the markings of true creativity and literary skill. Professor-cum-alien Andrew Martin must learn the life of a human with all the trials and tribulations that come with it. The only companion he seems to understand is the family dog. This book will make you laugh, cry and be dazzled in its ability to capture the human spirit in a questionably non-human character. Available now from Audible.

Publisher's Summary

It's hardest to belong when you're closest to home....

One wet Friday evening, Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world's greatest mathematical riddle. Then he disappears. When he is found walking naked along the motorway, Professor Martin seems different. Besides the lack of clothes, he now finds normal life pointless. His loving wife and teenage son seem repulsive to him. In fact, he hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton. And he's a dog.

Can a bit of Debussy and Emily Dickinson keep him from murder? Can the species which invented cheap white wine and peanut butter sandwiches be all that bad? And what is the warm feeling he gets when he looks into his wife's eyes?

©2013 Matt Haig (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

" 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)
" 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)
"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." ( Independent)
"Excellent . . . very human and touching indeed." (Patrick Ness)

What listeners say about The Humans

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Live with emotions than rationality

I think I came across such an awesome book after a very long time. I wonder how Matt Haig's mind works, to have churned this awesome story. I was attracted to the book because of the title and then the anticipation that a dog plays a pivotal role in the book. well, an alien played a much bigger role. it made me laugh, think and ponder and even feel sad at some places. I feel we humans are moving towards a destructive path altogether, and overall our actions will ultimately cause a lot of harm to other species. but there are simpler beings amongst us who are just existing as any other species would, and that carbon footprint is not large enough to wish for complete human annihilation. maybe this book tried to weigh out the pros and cons of human existence that I have been trying and thus it resonated with me. Overall, give it a read to enrich yourself . the narrator did a very good job of voice modulation to bring out each character.

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A must read!

A beautiful experience. Extremely well performed with a heart touching language and set of words!

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  • C__
  • 23-03-15

I love it

I came to this by the repeated mentions by Brady haron of the hello internet podcast (audible sponsors the show). This was a fantastic experience, offering excellent insights into humans, love and life. It's a surprisingly philosophical book that well foreshadowed. Honestly, it's the kind of classic that I feel high school English classes should teach.

The performance was good. I listened at 1.25x speed. No complaints, the English accent fit the setting.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-07-20

Yeah it was fine

Struggled to get into it. I don't really like this comedy style observational scifi, but here we are I guess.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-12-19

Excellent break from heavy reading

Excellent light book for passing time, humours and well performed. Good for a light story between heavy books.

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  • Paul Elliott
  • 19-09-18

An excellent parable about being human

It’s all too easy to forget are purpose being on the planet. Mark Haig has written an entertaining story to help remind us.

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  • Alexander
  • 29-12-15

Not a psykology book

The story was predictable, but mildly entertaining. I'm 19, so it might be more fun for an older audience.

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  • Kaggy
  • 24-08-13

A profound and shining star

If I could write like Matt Haig I would be able to express how much I adored this book. When there is so much out there that is cynical and crass it is truly astonishing to pick up and read a story that is so profound and full of compassion. On top of that it is funny and exciting and for the first time in my life I appreciate that mathematics does have some point after all.
This has gone into my top ten all time favourite books. Why? Because when his little finger touched hers I thought this expressed more about love than anything I had ever read before.
I am now impatient to read other books from this wonderful author.
This gets an infinite number of stars from me.

92 people found this helpful

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  • Robyn
  • 03-08-16

A gentle listen

I don’t often do this, but I read a few of the other reviews before writing my own. I couldn’t quite work out why I took so long to get into this book.

My typical book selection is from the fantasy genre – both contemporary and epic, with a little sci-fi. Occasionally I need a change of pace, and randomly select something left field for me - this turned out to be one of those selections. It is sci-fi, but not as I expected, and I think perhaps I struggled to embrace its observational approach.

Initially, I was a little bored and although the observations about us humans were well presented, and occasionally amusing, I found it a little obvious and predictable. I did eventually warm to the story and the characters, and by half-way I was enjoying it and was even a little sad to come to the end - I can see how other reviewers have given it good reviews. It has some lovely moments, and the pace does pick up by the midpoint, which is probably what I was struggling with initially.

I have no idea whether the mathematical references are correct or not, but they don't detract from the story. (However, I won’t be able to look at a prime number in the same way ever again.)

It’s a gentle listen; an observation on life as a human being, and how we aren’t all that bad despite our obvious failings.

Mark Meadows does a good job as narrator.

47 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 06-11-13

Made Me Feel Better About Us

I got this book on the strength of reviews, here and elsewhere, and found it to be really enjoyable. It made me laugh a lot - the author has a way of allowing us to see ourselves from the outside which shows just how ridiculous, contradictory, yet endearing humans can be. As someone who has become rather pessimistic about the future of humanity and our inability to do what is necessary to make the world a better place (I include myself here) this book managed to make me see myself and others in a better light. Maybe humans aren't all bad! Thanks Matt Haig for shining a little light into my bleak outlook.

69 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 30-10-15

When Cold Logic and Warm Emotion Collide

As soon as I read the blurb for this book I had to give it a try. The basic premise is something friends and I have discussed several times. What would happen if the walking disaster area that the human race represents was judged through purely dispassionate, logical eyes? This book goes further though. It questions what would happen to that cold analysis if it was infused with emotion and earthly beauty or even, most corrupting of all, human nature.

This is a lofty ambition and the book achieves it all in fine style tying things up in what I felt was a very satisfying fashion. It does so through gentle humour as logic and reason gets a damn good stirring of humanity without ever becoming overly-sentimental. It does irk me slightly that the publisher describes it as “hilarious” because while it has genuinely funny moments this is much more than just a comedy.

All of which is nurtured by the narrator’s soft yet strong tones which fit the various stages of the book like a glove. This is a rarely insightful piece of fiction and as such I would strongly recommend it.

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  • Mahmood
  • 31-12-15

Mind touching story

I liked this story especially when looking at the human from an external perspective. It is analyzing the basic human needs and emotions that we usually don't think about.

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  • James
  • 21-05-13

Surreal,charming, and very.... Human!

This really wasn't what I expected, but I loved this Audiobook, one of my favourites so far, it's also seriously funny in places.

I can massively recommend it, however I don't want to say too much about it because I don't want to give much away. It IS SciFi, but not in a Star Trek sort of way.

Get this and enjoy it.

25 people found this helpful

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  • H Ireland
  • 01-12-13

One of the best

This has to be one of the best books I have listened to on audible. The narrator is excellent and very easy to listen to. the story is funny, tragic, morbid, comical and ultimately Human.
It makes you look at the simplest things of our everyday lives and gives a different perspective on what it means to be alive and mortal. The beauty of the earth and the wonders of human nature and the world we have created. This book gets a huge big thumbs up from me and I would like to discover more of Matt Haigs books.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Sanjida O'Connell
  • 15-07-13

The Frightening Beauty of Being Human

Professor Andrew Martin, Cambridge mathematician, is dead. An alien, in his body, returns in his place. That would normally be enough to make me switch off, turn away, put the book down - but bear with me - The Humans is utterly brilliant. Everyone should have a copy.

In The Humans Matt Haig manages to avoid being twee, ridiculous or schmaltzy. The novel is almost a series of essays, a meditation on what it means to be human, but leavened with humour and held together with some strong narrative glue.

The Humans is a cross between Fermat’s Last Theorem and ET. It’s a glorious mix of science, poetry and what it means to love.

At its heart, The Humans is a modern-day gender-role reversal of The Little Mermaid, a creature who abandons his own atmosphere, trading a life of ease for one of unending suffering, all for love.



29 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs C
  • 09-03-20

Just a copy of so many other similar stories

I got about halfway through this book and became quite bored with this retelling of a storyline that has been done so many times before. Man goes away, another man takes, his place and is so much nicer to his wife and son so wife falls in love with him again. Even making the new man an Alien from another planet did not really make this any different from so many other stories which are pretty much the same as this one. Couldnt be bothered to finish it as its so predictable

2 people found this helpful

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  • Miss M
  • 24-11-16

Top class read ranking as an all-time favourite

Any additional comments?

Original, hilarious, poignant, acerbic, The Humans, is brimming with accurate observations and truisms about the absurdity, the loneliness and the extraordinariness of being a human on this isolated watery little planet.

This is a fantastically entertaining, humorous book that at once satirises the hypocracies, venal cruelties and myriad flaws of our species, whilst simultaneously showing compassion and a gentle determination to see the courage, bravery and truth about what it means to get through life as a human.

The external look at our own often risible, also tragic ways and circumstances is provided by a nameless alien from a far-away advanced planet appropriating the recently deceased body of a self-absorbed but brilliant mathematician ( and rather less brilliant husband and father.)

Through the alien, now living as Professor Andrew Martin, we are able to take several steps back and look at ourselves. Our flawed, mercurial ways; our strange contradictions and needs, become almost as off-putting, peculiar, beguiling and ultimately tragi-heroic to us the reader, very much the life-form under observation, as they do to our nameless indifferent, but ever more curious, alien.

As the title so plainly states this is very much a book rooted in human life - human nature and earth's place in the unfathomably large universe is cleverly and marvellously considered. For those so anti sci-fi, that even the term alien is off-putting, do overlook such an objection because this is a beautiful, funny, perceptive book with the heart, humour and wisdom to stay with you for a long time.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Brad Higgs
  • 06-07-17

Great book

I really loved this book, easy to listen to and a good story. would highly recommend.

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  • Freaknose
  • 12-09-16

Unexpected and beautiful

I expected a story of an alien trying to make it on earth in a science fiction, comedic kind of way, but instead, I was extremely pleasantly surprised by a story about humanity, very touching and mesmerizing. Lovely story.

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  • Bruce M
  • 05-04-16

Great perspective

A witty and great perspective into human psyche and behavior. Great read and we'll written.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-10-20

Lacking??

Firstly the narrator is great. When he is speaking as the main character his voice become more robotic, which is super engaging and fits the character really well. However, this change is super jarring when trying the sleep and I found it woke me up. The story was predicable, which is fine. But also lacked genuine connection between the character so the changes witnessed by the main character feels a bit out of left field. This is where my real issue with the story became apparent because this is the point where the authors take on the story should shine thought and it didn't. Over all I found the story lacking of real substances and it left me feeling incomplete.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-05-20

awesome story

I read this a while back, loved it - one of my favourites. I waited until I forgot most of the details so when I listened to it, I could enjoy it as close to the first time round as possible. So much truth, so much humour, so much insight. a book for teenagers, middleagers and seniors. whilst almost bluntly harsh in outlook on humans, it is also incredibly warm and generous towards us, our foibles, craziness, and beauty. narrator did a pretty good job of it nothing glaringly wrong with characterisation and you always knew when someone else was talking. he didn't do a horror job of the women's voices either, so all in all I think he was a good choice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-05-20

divine

find the beauty in mankind again. you will learn something from this book and it will be beautiful

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  • CockneyRebel1964
  • 09-04-20

A great book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book . The narrator was perfect which made listening even more enjoyable

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-03-20

Loved it!

Loved it. A good book to read to redescover the wonders of beeping a human.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-09-19

Best book I've read in years

A wonderfully refreshing book. beautufully written and performed. Do yourself a favour and buy it. ;-)