Book Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

The HumansWhat’s it about?2012 WBN Logo

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?

My thoughts

I came across this author and novel on Twitter. It had such good comments and reviews I chose it for our October book club meeting.

Written from the alien imposter’s perspective and as a guide of how to be a human for other aliens this book ultimately questions what it is to be human.

The alien has been sent to Earth to remove all evidence (including people!) that a particular mathematical theory has been proven. Apparently we humans don’t handle change well! I didn’t particularly like the part where a colleague was murdered, this was really sad and a bit brutal!

The sci-fi / alien element wasn’t as prolific as I thought it would be and I was glad. I’m not really into sci fi so this was just enough for me.

I must admit I did prefer the first half with the fake alien Andrew discovering human firsts, such as coffee and peanut butter sandwiches! The chapters are also really short so I got through it really quickly.

There are some great one liners and passages in this book that made me chuckle; here’s my favourites:

…history if full of depressing things…inventions of things which they have no idea how to handle (the atomic bomb, the internet, the semi-colon)

Humans as a rule, don’t like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead.

Your life will have 25,000 days in it. Make sure you remember some of them.

This is simple yet funny but totally honest and a must read for anyone who loves maths!

Available as Paperback | Kindle

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