The Humans by Matt Haig
2023 Frenzied Bibliophile Challenge Category: Book recommended
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Will you like this book? You might if you like:
Dry British humor.
A little sci-fi in your fiction.
Gentle mocking of academia.
“Second-chance” love stories.
This was loaned to me by a coworker, a fellow Anglophile, who guessed, correctly, that I would enjoy its very British humor. This is a tongue-in-cheek, fish out of water tale with an alien protagonist that learns that maybe his impression of humans and their unending fascinations with various things (sex, clothes, peanut butter, dogs) might not be quite so crazy after all. A bit of a mashup of Mork & Mindy and 3rd Rock from the Sun with some Perfect Strangers thrown in (and man I just aged myself there).
Our narrator is an unnamed alien who has come to Earth to inhabit the body of Professor Andrew Martin, a mathematician at Cambridge. Martin had just solved the Riemann hypothesis and an alien race is concerned about what humans will do with the information since we, as a species, do not appear to know how to handle the consequences of much we already do know. To avoid a potential catastrophe, said alien has been sent to take over Andrew’s body and destroy any evidence of the proof.
This is a tough book to summarize without giving away a lot of spoilers. And it is one of those books where the premise sounds so ridiculous, but Haig places you right in the middle of it all with the first sentence. The story is like an onion, aspects are slowly revealed, much like it is happening to our narrator. I don’t want to sound too mushy, but through our Alien Andrew, we see what makes humanity so unique and how relationships change and be rehabilitated.
This is my first book by Haig but I am very much looking forward to reading his other works, including the Midnight Library (which has been recommended to me as well).