Book Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

We humans are a weird bunch, I mean, we don’t see it because we’re too close to it, but we really are. What would an outsider make of us? That’s the jumping off point for this rather remarkable book.

I got this as a gift and it’s sat in my “to read” pile for far too long, but I finally got round to reading it and it was worth the wait.

The plot is deceptively simple, an Earth mathematician, Andrew Martin has just made a massive discovery, one which will change mankind’s future. However, a more advanced, “purer” race has witnessed this and given humanity’s darker aspects have decided that we’re not ready. And so they bump off Martin and replace him with one of their own, who’s mission is to delete all the information and remove anyone who knows about it.

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It is this alien replacement that narrates the story. And through him we get to see how weird human customs are as well as a fresh look of our strengths. What starts as a genre piece turns into a much deeper meditation on love and humanity, with a narrator who fast becomes sympathetic.

Haig’s writing is simply sublime, capturing the narrator’s distance from mankind and his slow “corruption” as he develops feelings for the humans he interacts with and starts to appreciate the humans’ good qualities.

It’s by turns funny, heartbreaking and tense, and Haig handles the tonal shifts with ease, I was thoroughly engrossed and loved the insightful writing. Haig is one to watch and I will seek out his other work.

Verdict: A wonderful book which looks at what it means to be human. Haig creates an alien, but sympathetic, narrator and has a story which involves and entertains. Solid book. 9/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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