The Humans

The Humans

Matt Haig

First Sentence:     I know that some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist.

Back of the book:

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?

Quotes from the book:

I breathed her in. I liked the warmth of her body against mine and realised the pathos of being a human. Of being a mortal creature who was essentially alone but needed the myth of togetherness with others. Friends, children, lovers. It was an attractive myth. It was a myth you could easily inhabit.

‘Kissing is what humans do when words have reached a place they can’t escape from. It is a switch to another language.’

[…] humans, in the day that has been the earth, have only been here for a minute and seventeen seconds. We’re a late night piss in the toilet, that’s all we are.

‘[…] someone who had lived enough to know that loving and being loved back was a hard thing to get right, but when you managed it you could see forever. Two mirrors, opposite and facing each other at perfectly parallel angles, viewing themselves through the other, the view as deep as infinity.’

Humans were always doing things they didn’t like doing. In fact, to my best estimate, at any one time only point three per cent of humans were actively doing something they liked doing, and even when they did so, they felt an intense amount of guilt about it and were fervently promising themselves they’d be back doing something horrendously unpleasant very shortly.

‘The gentle but unbettered comfort of coexistence.’

New technology, on Earth, just means something you will laugh at in five years. Value the stuff you won’t laugh at in five years. Like love. Or a good poem. Or a song. Or the sky.

* * * *

Last Sentence:     It was only a short walk away.

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