The Humans – Matt Haig

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I had heard so many good things about this book, read so many tweets about how good this book was. I had read The Radleys, Matt Haig’s book about a family of vampires living in the suburbs, and enjoyed it so I put The Humans on my Christmas list.

The basic plot of the story is an alien being sent to earth because mathematician Andrew Martin has discovered the secret of prime numbers, a discovery that the human race couldn’t possibly be trusted with. The alien’s job is to eliminate Martin, any evidence of his discovery and anyone whom he may have told about it. Things start off well but there is one thing the alien has not counted on, he starts to empathise with the humans he encounters, he even grows to love them.

Our alien narrator makes many observations of humans and their behaviour and touches lightly on how foolish much of this behaviour is. However, as the alien spends more time on earth with humans he begins to question his orders and his planet’s view that all humans are primitives defined by greed and violence. He begins to see the good in humanity.

Haig uses the story of an alien visiting Earth to explore just what it means to be human and suggests (some might say idealistically) that there is hope for the world, that despite mankind’s propensity for greed, selfishness and violence there is still a lot of good in the world.

The alien narrator remains unnamed throughout the novel and this perhaps so the reader can project themselves onto him and see our world through his eyes.

Although the main character is an alien, this is not a sci-fi book. It is definitely a book about humans and their behaviour. It is a wonderful novel and I recommend everyone give it a read.

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