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Des Parasites Comme Nous

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  715 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
Hank Hannah, professeur de paléontologie, a connu son heure de gloire en publiant un livre controversé dans lequel il soutenait que les populations asiatiques ayant colonisé les deux Amériques sont à l'origine de la disparition de la plupart des grands mammifères. Depuis il s'intéresse à un jeune étudiant millionnaire qui vit, depuis un an, comme un homme des cavernes.
Paperback, 462 pages
Published 2006 by Denoël (first published 2003)
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Aug 30, 2007 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoy's slightly disturbing comic romps
It was the playwright that got to me. I was already into this book. Digging it, if you will. On page 272, a playwright gets gunned down and, as he dies, he begs our hero to "Find my play." He even tells the hero where to find it and then asks him to make necessary changes. "In Act IV," he instructs, "erase the cruel words that Lonnie speaks. He doesn't mean it. I know that now."

This got to me.

Isn't this one of the reasons we choose to write? For immortality, for recognition even after we die?
Jul 16, 2008 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Guh. You know, who doesn't love a good end-of-the-world story, to say nothing of an end of the world story involving a tarblack sense of humor and a big, burning pig, but I swear I just don't know how many more books we need about past-their-prime academics who can't get a handle on their lives who muddle through their role as an uninspiring lead.

I mean, I tried sticking around (like 'Titanic') to see the world end, but this book couldn't get out of its own way -- it pretty much droned on and on
Dear Mr. Johnson,

Please end the world more quickly in your next book. It turns out you are way more interesting when you're destroying humanity. It took us about five pages to realize how lame Hank was. Then you kept establishing that fact for half the book. Props to your sweet apocalypse, but we could use some more of it.

Sweet. Thanks.


Oct 14, 2008 Caris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parasites Like Us follows the story of Dr. Hank Hannah, an anthropology instructor specializing in the Clovis, the original inhabitants of North America. Under his tutelage are two bright and innovative students: Eggers (whose thesis revolves around adopting the traditional Clovis lifestyle) and Trudy (who Dr. Hannah ashamedly pines for). The trio makes a discovery that turns the world on its head, and brings an end to comfort in which they live.

Although occasionally haunting and eloquent, this
Jun 25, 2009 Adam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Horrible writing. I can't help but shake the feeling that the author wrote this in grad school with the hopes it would be picked up for a movie. But the writing and especially the dialogue are suitable for only a Sci-Fi Network TV-Movie.

Midlife Crisis Academic - Check
Quirky Old Man - Check
Cold Woman eventually warms up to Midlife Crisis Academic - Check
Various slapstick shenanigans - Check
Adventures with animals, extreme weather, military and various other things to spice up a movie script. - Ch
Jeremy Zerbe
Jun 10, 2008 Jeremy Zerbe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"After trashing his cherry '72 Corvette, illegally breaking into an ancient burial site, and snacking on 12,000-year-old popcorn, Hank Hannah finds that he's inadvertently unleashed the apocalypse," begins the blurb on the back cover of Adam Johnson's debut novel, last year's Parasites Like Us. Sounds pretty interesting, doesn't it? It certainly did to me. Interesting enough for me to buy the book on a whim when I saw it at a discount book store. I had seen the novel a year earlier when it had j ...more
Jun 30, 2007 Chazzbot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best end-of-the-world novel I've ever read. What begins as a razor-sharp satire of academia (tenured professors who've lost their passion, grad students trying to make a name for themselves, the tedious social order of the university) and archeology slowly boils into a equally sharp portrayal of a world collapsing on itself. Though the novel ends on a rather bleak note--Johnson finds little salvation in humanity's struggle--it is as realistic and darkly comedic as you might hope an a ...more
I am left with a 'huh?' feeling after finishing this book. It feels like there was so much build up and then it ended so quickly, like the author ran over a deadline and had to wrap it up. The climax is so rushed over, that it could easily be missed (I had to go back and read it twice). Why all the mom-issues that he spent ages agonizing about are never referred to after the climax? Julia (or is it Yulia??) - why the obsession? Still don't get it.
The end of the world scenario is a frightening id
Apr 22, 2013 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just loved The Orphan Master's son and thought I would go back to early Adam Johnson to get a good idea of his humble roots. But this book was weird. Not really even a good weird. Kind of a gross weird. There's a lot of archaeology talk in here which turns out to be more existential than Jurassic Park. Throw in some post apocalyptic stuff and there you have it. I think it was certainly creative but most of the time the concept was lost on me. I still think he's great though! Go Adam Go!
Jun 30, 2011 Barbi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While the premise is interesting, this is an example of a book with terrible pacing. The beginning of the book crawled, and too much was jammed into the end. It felt like two different book crammed into one. At the end, I was annoyed with myself for finishing the book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr Hank Hannah is a professor of anthropology at the University of Southeastern South Dakota. In this novel, we learn of how he studies the Clovis people – the first humans to cross the Bering Land Bridge from Siberia 12,000 years previously, created an empire, exploited the lands resources and then disbanded into over 600 Native American tribes. Much of this book is ironic and filled with dark humour; tying in the exploitation of the land so long ago to events in the present.

Hannah has two stu
Jul 22, 2007 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting premise (anthropologist disturbs an artifact in an ancient burial mound and triggers the apocalypse); but the development was rambling, poorly written and completely boring.

Full disclosure: I stopped reading this book with only about 40 pages to go, because I just couldn't stand it any longer.
Lauren Smith
Jun 22, 2014 Lauren Smith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review-copy
Ridiculously boring.
Sara Jones
I read this book after reading Adam Johnson's second novel, the Orphan Master's Son, which won the Pulitzer. I was interested in seeing how he got to that book, which I thought was incredible. To be honest, I was kind of surprised. Parasites Like Us takes place in a much less interesting setting, South Dakota. Narrator Hank Hannah is a self-absorbed professor trying to come to terms with the death of his step-mother and the fact that his career is quickly becoming something of a joke. He has two ...more
Apr 16, 2015 Ryandake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-good-shit
wow, i can't believe i hadn't read this before, or that none of my friends insisted i read it--it is so perfectly up my alley, and so well-done.

why does it inhabit the alley? because there's a lot to be learned in this book, in this case about how people who dig up other people for a living view the world. our hero, Hank Hannah, is sliding rather too rapidly into the academic dustbin (but he has tenure!). his love life is nonexistent. his family is shattered; he has only one friend. he has two o
Mar 20, 2013 C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apocalyptic
I was very looking forward to reading this one since I loved the brilliant 'The Orphan Master's Son' that should win all the awards and that still wouldn't say how amazing the book is. This one is interesting! It's a bit like a humorous Darwinian apocalypse tale, with shades of Kurt Vonnegut (especially 'Cat's Cradle' with the scientists as main characters and the icy doom... this one even has little drawings reminiscent of Vonnegut's.) It also reminded me of T.C. Boyle's smart and detailed writ ...more
May 24, 2014 GONZA rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange book that somehow made me feel unease while reading it or later when I was thinking about it, not so much for the story as for the strange characters who inhabit it. I would rather complain about the back cover that spoilers the whole story, it is true that one just goes on Goodreads for knowing the plot of a book, but I usually just avoid it so as not to spoil the surprise! Anyway I loved all the thoughts about anthropology.

Strano libro che in qualche modo non mi ha fatto sentire a mio
Oct 04, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A challenging and different read taking place in South Dakota. A nebbish and initially unappealing anthropology professor whose field is Clovis - the forerunners of American Indians - and his two top PhD students find a 12,000 year old skeleton and artifacts. A virus from an artifact kills 99.99999% of mankind within 10 days.

While I liked Johnson's Orphan Master's Son more, Parasites is quite intriguing.
Jun 20, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2014, e-book
Hank Hannah is an anthropologist working at The University of South Eastern South Dakota. He once wrote a book about the Clovis people, the first people to cross the Bering Strait to North America, and who were thought to have caused the extinction of 35 species of mammals. He is no longer held in such high esteem by his peers, having produced nothing of note since writing his book “The Depletionists”. He is supervising two anthropology students – Eggers is living in the style of the Clovis peop ...more
Feb 06, 2016 Steven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Adam Johnson's writing must have made a massive leap forward to win the Pulitzer prize for 'The Orphan Masters Son' as this turned out to be a bit of a disjointed mess. On the snowy landscape of South Dakota anthropologist Hank Hannah along with a crazy student of his make a discovery that will go on to have catastrophic consequences for mankind while digging on an ancient burial site.
To best describe this would be a 'darkly comic apocalyptic nightmare', and things did start promising but went d
Christine Lynch
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Cole
After trashing his cherry '72 Corvette, illegally breaking into an ancient burial site, and snacking on 12,000-year-old popcorn, Hank Hannah finds that he's inadvertently unleashed the apocalypse. Hank, a professor of anthropology back in the days when there were still co-eds to ogle and now one of only twelve humans still alive on earth, decides to record the last days of human civilization for whomever - or whatever - might replace us."

The description for Parasites Like Us led me to believe th
Sep 03, 2015 Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I thought this would be a standard post apocalyptic novel - and I was caught off guard. The majority of the book takes place in the immediate lead up to the expected apocalypse, and it created a tension of knowing what is coming that I really enjoyed. I have not read a novel with an approach like this, and it was really stimulating. It reminded me at first of Station Eleven or The Sparrow; both expose a significant event from before and after it in order to build suspense. This story had hints o ...more
Kat Masek
I would echo a few of the really good reviews of Parasites Like Us written by Goodreads readers. Like them, after I read Adam Johnson's astonishing novel of North Korea, The Orphan Master's Son, I wanted to read everything Johnson had written. I did notice that the critics spoke more, and very highly, of his short-story collection, Emporium, than they did of Johnson's first novel Parasites Like Us.

I can see why. It's overconceptualized, the characters are thin, and, as others have said, it tends
Lisa Houlihan
One of the best typos ever: Instead of dropping the tranny (transmission), someone "drops the tyranny." Fight the power!

199: "I've taken a liking to a dish I call 'culvert surprise.'"

It also took me till page 199 to read the title's "like" as a verb instead of only a preposition.

The pacing is uneven and the two parts of the book don't quite flow but they're both great so that's okay.

It bothers me that I can't pin "Parkton" with its "University of Southeasterern South Dakota" to a particular pla
Jan 11, 2016 Pete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Johnson's cavalier take on the end of civilization is fun even if it's just because you feel like he's letting you in on a private joke regarding the ultimate idiocy and futility of the human race. In that sense, he was ahead of his time with this novel. It was pretty advanced global cynicism.

Nevertheless the novel makes you care about his characters, largely sad mongrels, none of them offering too much by way of salvation, yet in the end, that's what they need to become. I'd like to say that's
Aug 15, 2015 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gah. The only thing that this book had in common with "The Orphan Master's Son" was that the story takes place in a setting where I have no desire to go to ~ North Korea in the latter and South Dakota in the former. I am really, really tired of reading books where the main characters are unlikable, boring and whiney dillweeds. The "apocalypse" was a complete letdown, I wouldn't want to be left in a world with these characters, and ~ the biggest sin that could ever be committed by a writer to me ...more
Felt like a was reading a mediocre movie, if you will.
Mar 12, 2015 Sheree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit it, I like intelligent apocalyptic novels. Parasites Like Us is certainly in that vein, but it also has a lot to say between the lines, and is also a rather fun read despite it's dark subject matter. Characters are well drawn and very entertaining to watch as the story of apocalypse unfolds in a very unique way. Highly readable and, even higher praise from a sometimes fickle reader like me, it remains memorable despite the nine years since I read it. It stays on my shelf as a future r ...more
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Adam Johnson was born in South Dakota and raised in Arizona. He earned a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University in 1992; a MFA from the writing program at McNeese State University, in 1996; and a PhD in English from Florida State University in 2000. Johnson is currently a San Francisco writer and associate professor in creative writing at Stanford University.

He founded the Stanford Graphi
More about Adam Johnson...

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