THE HUMANS by Matt Haig

THE HUMANS

KIRKUS REVIEW

A fish-out-of water mashup where the water is Earth, and the fish is an extraterrestrial.

Professor Andrew Martin has solved the Riemann hypothesis. A mathematical problem of fiendish difficulty, it explains the distribution of prime numbers. This is big news in a galaxy far, far away. The Vonnadorians, in their wisdom, believe we humans are unprepared for this breakthrough. They are so concerned, in fact, they kidnap Professor Martin, of Cambridge University, and send a Vonnadorian to destroy the proof and kill everyone Martin informed. Alien/Martin assumes the shape and identity of human/Martin to insinuate himself into the world. Our alien assassin is narrator and protagonist. And in spite of extraordinary Vonnadorian technology, he is, to quote Foghorn Leghorn, about as sharp as a bag of wet mice, and a softie to boot. He falls away from the rational principles of his distant world, develops a taste for crunchy whole-nut peanut butter and Australian wine, admiration for "his" dog, Newton, love for "his" wife, Isobel, and Gulliver, "his" angst-y teen son. Haig goes all-in on the alien-goes-native humor, and then he goes further. Turns out, human/Martin was an arrogant jerk, while alien/Martin falls hard for our little blue planet, for our contradictions and our mortality, our joys and our follies, for the Beach Boys and Emily Dickinson. Alien/Martin becomes more expert on us humans than dozens of self-help–book authors: “I felt blue with sadness, red with rage and green with envy. I felt the entire human rainbow.” 

A saccharine novel.

Pub Date: July 2nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4767-2791-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2013




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