Monday 1 January 2018

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Mini Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

The Humans by Matt HaigThe Humans by Matt Haig (Bought) - 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?
From Goodreads.

I've always wanted to read The Humans by Matt Haig; it always sounded intriguing. So when I noticed the eBook was only 99p, I nabbed it up quickly. And I'm so glad I did, it's such a wonderful novel.

Professor Andrew Martin is no longer Professor Andrew Martin. He was kidnapped and killed by aliens, and replaced by one of their own. Why? Because he discovered the answer to a mathmatical problem that had been plaguing the greatest mathmaticians for a terribly long time. And solving that problem will mean humans progress to a level that is dangerous to the rest of the universe, what with out greed and our violence. The new Andrew has one mission: delete all evidence of Andrew's work, and kill anyone who knows he found the answer - plus his wife and son, just to be safe. But as time passes, new Andrew find that these people he feared, these people whose ugly features revolted him, are capable of compassion, selflessness, art, and are far more complex than his kind ever understood. While he spends his time on Earth, new Andrew discovers what it means to be human.

This book was just brilliant. At first, it was just funny; the alien - who doesn't have a name, because his kind have no need for names - would get everything wrong, and also be so bewildered by us and how we live. I would be laughing out loud quite hysterically in the staff room at work, and have colleagues wanting to know what I was reading that was so funny. From this view point of an outsider looking in, it made some of the things we humans do without even thinking about it seem so bizarre, at times funny, but also thought-provoking. But as the story goes on, it gets a little more serious, as the alien changes by being exposed to art, experiences the kindness of humans, and comes to care for Andrew's wife, Isobel and his son, Gulliver. The whole story then becomes something different; it's still funny, but it feels more real. It goes from being a comedy to being so completely wonderful, and such a joy to read. There is a moment when the alien writes Gulliver a list full of advice, which is less specific to Gulliver, and more advice we could all follow. It was so moving and eye-opening and thought-provoking. It was actually really beautiful.

The Humans is a completely wonderful story, and I would highly, highly recommend it.

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Published: 9th May 2013
Publisher: Canongate Books
Matt Haig's Website

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