cover image The Humans

The Humans

Matt Haig. Simon & Schuster, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4767-2791-2

In 1859, German mathematician Bernard Riemann put forth a hypothesis that prime numbers have a pattern. In 2012, an unnamed alien is sent to Earth to ensure the hypothesis is never proven. The Vonnadorians wish to prevent humans from gaining knowledge before they are psychologically prepared for the advancements that would ensue. The invader inhabits the body of Andrew Martin, the arrogant and selfish mathematician who discovered the proof to Riemann’s hypothesis; at first disgusted and confused by his human shell, the alien is eventually transformed, and the more time he spends with Andrew’s wife and son, the more he comes to doubt his mission. Haig (The Radleys) creates a delightful sense of displacement in “Andrew” and draws the reader into the experiences that make us human, ugly, wonderful, and mundane by turns. While at times the novel is sentimental, the wonder and humor with which the protagonist approaches life, and the many emotions and discoveries he experiences, are worth getting a bit weepy over. Agent: Andrea Joyce, Canongate. (July)