The Humans - Matt Haig

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The Humans - Matt Haig

Post by Graham on Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:25 pm

I order you to read this book. I command you, but of course you are a human, probably, and free to make up your own mind. I read Haig’s ‘How to Stop Time’ a few months ago and was deeply affected by it. On the surface a fantasy about someone who had lived since the Renaissance it was really a powerful love story. This falls into the same class. An alien is sent to earth in the body of a Cambridge mathematics professor to destroy all evidence of the professor’s solution to the Reimann Hypothesis, a proof that will speed humanity on its way to the stars and the ability to fuck up the entire universe. This sci-fi scenario is only the peg Haig hangs the whole coat on. It allows him to hold the silliness of the human race up to the light and find something beautiful in it. Love, of course, but also poetry, and dogs.

Initially irked by human frailties such as the need to wear clothes and the niceties involved in lying the new Professor Martin gradually assimilates earthly feelings and even begins to appreciate the poetry of Emily Dickinson. The human he has replaced was clearly not blessed with emotional intelligence and his inherited family is all but dysfunctional. How this is resolved is the poignant heart of the story.

There is also a solid plot that makes it a thrilling page turner. You might read it just as the story of a semi-autistic academic having a breakdown and rediscovering love or you might accept the narrator’s truth from the start. His alien masters appear unsympathetic to their emissary’s new sensibilities especially his unwillingness to employ extreme prejudice. His humanity may be no match for them.

On second thoughts do not read this book. We do not wish to be discovered. That is an order.

Graham
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