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How I Took a Holiday from Being Human

By Thomas Thwaites


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The dazzling success of The Toaster Project, including TV appearances and an international book tour, leaves Thomas Thwaites in a slump. His friends increasingly behave like adults, while Thwaites still lives at home, "stuck in a big, dark hole." Luckily, a research grant offers the perfect out: a chance to take a holiday from the complications of being human—by transforming himself into a goat. What ensues is a hilarious and surreal journey through engineering, design, and psychology, as Thwaites interviews neuroscientists, animal behaviorists, prosthetists, goat sanctuary workers, and goatherds.

From this, he builds a goat exoskeleton—artificial legs, helmet, chest protector, raincoat from his mum, and a prosthetic goat stomach to digest grass (with help from a pressure cooker and campfire)—before setting off across the Alps on four legs with a herd of his fellow creatures. Will he make it? Do Thwaites and his readers discover what it truly means to be human?

GoatMan tells all in Thwaites's inimitable style, which NPR extols as "a laugh-out- loud-funny but thoughtful guide through his own adventures."

More Details

Size: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.6 in;
Pages: 208 pp;
Format: Hardcover
Publication: May 2016
ISBN: 9781616894054
Thomas Thwaites develops far reaching design projects, undertakes commissions for private companies, as well as making work for public organisations including London's Design Museum, the Wellcome Trust and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

His work has been exhibited at major galleries worldwide, including at the National Museum of China, Ars Electronica in Austria, the Zero1 Biennial in California and The Science Museum in London. The Victoria & Albert Museum recently acquired his work, The Toaster Project, for their permanent collection.

He has presented a four part television series, aired on Discovery Channel Asia Pacific in 2013. His first book, The Toaster Project, is published by Princeton Architectural Press, and has now been translated in to Japanese and Korean editions.

Media Reviews

“This extremely entertaining book describes a highly unusual experiment—the author’s attempt to transform into a goat….one of the more amusing memoirs in recent memory.” —Library Journal

"A quirkily entertaining exploration of what it means to be human and what it might be like to be a goat." —Kirkus Reviews

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