I know that some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist.
The world is a mysteriously beautiful place, appreciated by few but lived in by many. We are often so busy focussing on getting to the next place, seeing the next thing, speaking to the next person that you forget to stop and allow yourself time to really look. A change in perspective is never really something that comes naturally, it is often given to you and Matt Haig has delivered a huge beautifully quirky and poignant dose of it in his offering of The Humans.
Sci-fi-esque novels are never really my cup of tea and a novel centered on an alien coming down to Earth to assimilate a human would normally be left on the bookcase as I carried on perusing. But the rip-roaringly positive reviews of The Humans were deafening and so I decided to throw caution to the wind and embrace something new – and I am so grateful that I did!
Haig’s writing style is an absolute joy – punchy, witty and able to mix profound nuggets of sentimentality with wry humour effortlessly. The narrator, our alien ‘reporter’, comes from the planet Vonnadoria where logic, rationality and mathematics reign supreme and abstract human concepts such as emotions, relationships and mortality are unknown. Written in way that delivers an almost David-Attenborough-documentary-in-reverse, this refreshing novel delves deep into the heart of what it means to be human and delivers a thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable read.
The unnamed narrator doesn’t have the Beatle-esque “all you need is love” epiphany that you may presume when reading the blurb or summary of plot for this novel. In fact, the delivery of The Humans is nothing like as transparent or mawkish. It doesn’t beat you over the head with a particular theme or message but allows you a unique viewpoint and the chance to see humanity as an outsider. In The Humans, you will explore and exact a whole range of emotions as you follow the story of the “new” Professor Andrew Martin, a man who can delight and destroy you in the same paragraph!
I loved being the in headspace of this particular Vonnadorian and found the opportunity to observe our species for 304 pages absolutely wonderful. Marrying philosophy with logic, poetry with mathematics and the hilarious with the heart-warming, Haig’s The Humans is one to read time and again.
(Also pay attention to the 97 pieces of ‘Advice for Humans’ offered for they are as painstakingly brilliant as they are true!)