The Humans by Matt Haig

“Let us consider this: what if there actually is a meaning to human life?” Haig’s main character, a Vendorian (an alien), considers a statement by one of Earth’s most famous (my favourite) poets, Emily Dickinson “I dwell in possibility”. With no answers of why we’re really here, our race, us puny humans fabricate reasons for existence, and superior beings like Haig’s protagonist in The Humans cherish our fear and our existence. This really is a book about life in general. Like Stephen King’s IT, and Nathan Hill’s The NixThe Humans is an outstanding detailed, beautifully written book. Haig, Hill and King all magnificently balance experiences of laughter from terror we as people, as conscious beings experience in our everyday life and make it into something beautiful.

The premise of the book is that the alien – who we call Prof. Andrew Martin – solves a mathematical equation way before humans are ready for it yet. Technology is constantly advancing before our eyes, so much so that we can barely keep up with it. The alien race notices this sends our narrator down to fix it, to live in Andrew Martin’s body. He lands naked in Cambridge, awkwardly socialising with human life in an attempt to understand their meaning of life via Cosmopolitan magazine!

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However, our existence to our narrator is complex, so many negatives and positives intertwined, for example, like the fact that we have to do things we don’t like, or that you can break “the law by simply not wearing clothes”. The plot and themes are definitely a nod to Hamlet and Star Trek, two masterpieces that perfectly summarise Haig’s novel in a nutshell. Oh, and don’t forget a sprinkle of Emily Dickinson amidst the concoction.

“That it will never come again,
Is what makes life so sweet.”

– Emily Dickinson

I honestly can’t believe the luck I’m having with books lately. The Humans is yet another in the running or my top 10 favourite books of the year. I couldn’t recommend this one enough. It’s hilarious, intriguing and heartfelt. It’s a book about life, which seems to be what I’m pining for this year, right?

I can’t wait to read more of Haig’s work. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, 5/5 stars.

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