The Humans

By Matt Haig

The point was also to forget meaning. To stop looking and start living. The meaning was to hold the hand of someone you cared about and to live inside the present. Past and future were myths. The past was just the present that had died and the future would never exist anyway, because by the time we got to it the future would have turned into the present. The present was all there was.”

The Humans has a very intriguing plot which allows the author to share his ruminations on the human condition. It allows the opportunity for much humor and relationship development.

An alien comes from a galaxy far far away to inhabit the dead body of a professor and mathematician, Andrew Martin, who that day has solved the key to the mysteries of prime numbers which humans have been working on for centuries. (who knew?) By doing so, it will lead to providing humans with the keys to more power than they are capable of handling wisely. That is why Andrew Martin had to die. For the good of the cosmos, the Alien has been tasked to infiltrate Andrew’s life and kill anyone that Andrew may have shared his success with. He must erase all evidence of the solution. While trying to complete his mission, the Alien falls in love with Andrew’s wife and son, who the real Andrew has treated badly and neglected for years. He also learns that despite their silliness and dangerous tendencies, humans do have some value and abilities he learns to appreciate: The ability to laugh and to love. To care and be cared for. Poetry. Pleasure. Peanut Butter. Pets. Aspects of life on Earth that his painless and immortal species has “progressed” beyond.

I liked this book very much. It was thought provoking, funny, and even moving at times. But, like How to Stop Time, which also had a very bright and promising premise, I wish it had gone deeper and taken more time. Filled in more gaps, so to speak. It did make for a fast moving read, but it could have been epic.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

March 24, 2018

How to Stop Time

by Matt Haig

One of the reasons people don’t know about us is that most people aren’t prepared to believe it. Human beings, as a rule, simply don’t accept things that don’t fit their worldview.

This is the chief comfort of being four hundred and thirty-nine years old. You understand quite completely that the main lesson of history is: humans don’t learn from history. The twenty-first century could still turn out to be a bad cover version of the twentieth, but what could we do?

This was a very good book that I enjoyed. Matt Haig is a very good writer, as I could scarcely put it down. It’s full of insightful observations about time, history, love, grief, etc. I will certainly be putting Humans on my want-to-read list. It was, however, despite its subject matter, a very light book. It did not move me to tears or laughter. One of the main threads was Tom’s search for his daughter, who we learn and he learns has the same condition: That is, he only ages 1 year for every 15 he lives. what a fascinating premise! Unfortunately, I felt the climax and resolution were too quick and pat. I was hoping for more of a mystery and big reveal concerning his search of hundreds of years for his exceptional daughter and how the problematic Hendrich Pieterson and his mafia-like protection agency were dealt with. More ground could have been laid as far as his daughter’s background, for example. I would have liked her and his 21st-century love, Camille, to be connected somehow to his past in a shocking, but great and good way. As enjoyable and interesting as this book was, it just didn’t live up to the opportunities its premise seemed to promise.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

March 17, 2018