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Guest Review | The Humans | Matt Haig

the humans

Professor Andrew Martin is not quite himself. In fact, Professor Andrew Martin is dead and has been body-snatched by an advanced alien species. Sinister, you’ll agree. But it’s all in the name of the Greater Good. You see, the advanced alien species have been keeping a close eye on the humans and when Prof Martin discovers the answer to one of the greatest mathematical riddles of all time, they realize that this could unleash a whole catalogue of events that no one is ready for. Namely that the humans, the strange, aggressive beings that they are, will destroy themselves and potentially the rest of the universe. So an ambassador is sent down to earth to take over Andrew’s life and destroy his lifetime work, along with anyone who might know about it.

Through the narration of the alien who has taken over Andrew’s body, The Humans explores human nature from an outsiders perspective. At times, it is funny, somewhat ridiculous, often threatening but the overwhelming feeling is of warmth. The alien is a surprisingly likeable character and his misunderstanding of earth and mankind creates some really funny moments. One that stood out to me was when he arrived on earth naked on a motorway side and thought that since everyone was spitting at him that this must be a common greeting. Hilarious.

The alien is on a steep learning curve but quickly begins to see the good in people. Despite his strange behavior, he is met with sympathy and understanding from loved ones who think he has had a breakdown and he begins to feel a bond with Andrew’s wife, his son and even his dog.

The Humans looks at what it means to be human. The fact that everyone thinks that Andrew has suffered a mental breakdown is really interesting, especially when the alien starts to wonder if in fact he has and the whole body-snatching things is a fantasy of a deluded man. I felt slightly disappointed that Haig doesn’t take this idea further as it would have provided a lot more substance to the story. Instead, the book remains committed to original premise, which is fine, it’s a good story but I would therefore class this as ‘light’ reading.

I do highly recommend The Humans. It is an amusing and endearing read which I’m sure many people would enjoy.

This post was written by guest blogger Ali, find more of her reviews at


  1. I've been wondering if I should put this on my book list since I saw it in a bookshop! Thanks for the review - I think it will be going on my list now :)

  2. I've been wanting to read this since I first heard about it. I'll definitely keep a look out for it now :)

    Chelsea xx
    Love in Modern Life


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