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The Humans - review

“Laughter, along with madness, seemed to be the only way out, the emergency exit for humans.”

“Advice for a human - 86. To like something is to insult it. Love it or hate it. Be passionate. As civilisation advances, so does indifference. It is a disease. Immunize yourself with art. And love.” 

Title: The Humans
Author: Matt Haig

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Review copy via Netgalley
Buy it: Here


Synopsis

A Vonnedorian is sent to earth to possess a recently abducted Cambridge University maths professor's body, and destroy evidence of his most recent mathematical discovery by any means necessary; proof of a theory that will give humans an advancement in technology they are not evolved enough to acquire. However, the outsider doesn't expect the "violent" humans to have such an affect on his mathematical logic.

Review

When I read Matt Haig's last book, The Radleys, I wasn't overwhelmed by it - and I think much of that was the press surrounding it. I just felt the entire premise of vampire novels at the time was overdone and quite predictable. In The Humans, Haig takes on aliens, and I am so happy to say that it is the polar opposite of The Radleys! It was unexpected, original, relate-able(!) and genuinely humourous (in a satirical kind of way).

I loved the view of human life from an outside perspective. Matt Haig manages to write a character in "Andrew" that feels believably omnipotent and superior in ways we could never know, and yet have him almost childlike in his innocence of the world. I found the concept of mathematics being the route to all scientific discovery to be unique and even sensible! I especially liked reading Andrew's cynical impressions of the Human species and found his journey towards empathy both warming and inspiring - especially when I, myself, can feel hopeless about the world, I found that Andrew's outlook could encourage me to see the light!

The human characters in the book were privileged but "damaged" lives that represented a spectrum of human psyche. The presence of emotion in the book, especially love in all its forms, was beautifully written on these characters - bouncing from the innocence of Andrew to the weariness of Isobel and the fragility of Gulliver. Even the dog, Newton, gets a dose of humanity in the form of empathy.

To say this book is quotable would be an understatement. There are gems of brilliance littered throughout (I couldn't help but sneak two quotes in at the top of this review!) and I can really imagine there will be tshirts made of Andrew's final advice to Gulliver! I found myself nodding along so much my neck started to ache haha!

I found a special treat in The Humans within the setting; the book is set in Cambridge! I lived there for 23 years before moving to Bristol and reading about the universities and the parks gave me a small taste of home!

Overall

I hugely enjoyed reading this "outside looking in" perspective of human being. It's philosophical, uplifting, honest, heartbreaking and humourous. After The Radleys I wasn't expecting something as touching or as unique as The humans, but I stand happily proven wrong!

Score 
★★★

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