June 28, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Humans

Current Status
In Season
Matt Haig
We gave it a B+

Professor Andrew Martin has just proved the Riemann hypothesis, believed by many to be the biggest problem in mathematics. And for that, he must die. Enter our unnamed narrator, an alien sent to Earth to inhabit Martin’s body and halt human progress by erasing all evidence of the professor’s groundbreaking discovery. The future of the universe depends on it, according to the extraterrestrial beings. In Haig’s first novel since 2010’s The Radleys, the narrator faces the complicated tasks of navigating the planet’s social rules (e.g., clothes are important), managing relationships with Martin’s family (a wife and a teenage son), and coping with the generally grotesque Homo sapiens (don’t even get him started on our weird noses). But as he spends more and more time acting the part, the narrator begins to question his once strongly held belief that humans are ”a species of ugliness and violence, beyond redemption.” Despite what the aliens may think, The Humans is not so unlike the species the book details: funny, poignant, and full of heart. B+

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