North Yorkshire Library Service Book Group discussion

The Humans
This topic is about The Humans
The Humans > Half way NO SPOILERS PLEASE

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Victoria Turvey-Sauron (radiantwrites) | 53 comments Mod
This thread is for people who've not yet reached the chapter entitled "Daniel Russell", roughly half way through the book, p. 88 in the Canongate paperback (blue starry jacket).
If you are allergic to spoilers please beware this thread. If you've read further than "Daniel Russell", PLEASE do not reveal spoilers in this thread.

I suppose my question is, now that you are a few chapters in, do you think the narrator is a) mentally ill, but 'really' Andrew Martin, or b) an alien?

Where is this going?
Personally, I honestly don't know.

Also, I'd like to know if anyone else who is reading this little by little like me is having difficulty relating to everyday life in the meantime. I keep saying this, but the book is so profoundly... unsettlingly.... RELATABLE that it's hard not to 'observe' one's fellow humans from a distance, while in the book's headspace.

Any thoughts welcome but please please keep discussions spoiler free for plot developments "Daniel Russell" onwards.

Matthew Jones (matthew_jones) | 49 comments Having grown up watching too many episodes of The X-Files I think my brain decided to go all in on the alien side of things quite early on. I want to believe! Depending on how the story develops I hope the conscious removal of ambiguity won’t reduce the impact of the book. At the moment I’m wondering if this approach is akin to a player deciding at the beginning of a game which character to play as - hero or villain. A second reading could give a completely different experience “playing” as the mentally ill human rather than the bemused alien. Either way I’m interested to see how the story will be resolved. If it’s resolved…

message 3: by Laura (new)

Laura Dinning | 3 comments I've requested a copy and it's on its way to me - looking forward to reading it and will let you know my thoughts in due course!

Victoria Turvey-Sauron (radiantwrites) | 53 comments Mod
I was also an X-Phile as a teenager but oddly I went the other way, and assumed that he was mentally ill. Maybe it is the style of writing which is so emphatically not sci-fi. Or perhaps it says more about me, that viewing human existence in this way entirely credibly suggests a breakdown from within, more than it encourages me to see it as face value.

That said, I think what explains it is that my only knowledge of Matt Haig before reading this was his article about his suicide attempt/breakdown, so going in, I had that 'hat' on. He explicitly connects dealing with mental illness to his writing:

So I suppose I had certain expectations, although my university lecturers would have tutted about me uncritically making assumptions about 'Intention' based on an autobiographical author statement.

But I have read further now Matthew and your decision to consciously side with your initial interpretation is not problematic for enjoying the rest (though I haven't finished it yet). I know just what you mean though - it's like the need to immediately watch the Sixth Sense again after you first finish it!

One thing that puzzles me though is how he gets away with having utter and total amnesia to the extent he does. I am having difficulty suspending my disbelief on that point - he would have been caught out!

back to top