Professor Andrew Martin, a mathematician Cambridge teacher has just resolved the Riemann hypothesis. This discovery could change the future on Earth, and an Alien Race much more developed than the human species decided to erase the knowledge and all the people implicated in it discovery. Mathematics at this level is too dangerous if in the hands of human beings. Humans for Vonnadorians are that a violent, fallible and unreliable species.
This is a book for ‘laughing out loud’, and at the same time gives you the opportunity to think about our weaknesses and our strengths.
The story not only directly criticizes our mistakes as a species but also praises our good qualities and, in the end shows you that it is possible to find good and bad things everywhere.
The sentences in this book can explain better than me what I mean by ‘laughing out loud’ and thinking.
Belowe are some of the sentences that made me laugh a lot. They don’t need any further explanation:
“But this was England, a part of Earth where thinking about the weather was the chief human activity.”
“This was, I would later realise, a planet of things wrapped inside things. Food inside wrappers. Bodies inside clothes. Contempt inside smiles. Everything was hidden away.”
“Their purpose was simply to pursue the enlightenment of orgasm. A few seconds of relief from the surrounding dark.”
“… one of these books they read to feel clever, or one of those they will pretend never to have read in order to stay looking clever?”
“The ‘pub’ was an invention of humans living in England, designed as compensation for the fact that they were humans living in England.”
It is important to be able to laugh at yourself, and discover the funny things of your daily life, and the previous sentences are good examples of this.
And these are the ones that make me think more:
“So, we must conclude that madness is sometimes a question of time, and sometimes of postcode.”
Or maybe a question of other opinions.
“The term ‘news’ on Earth generally meant ‘news that directly affects humans’. There was, quite literally nothing about the antelope or the sea-horse or the red-eared slider turtle or the other one million species on the planet.”
Or what it is the same ‘news’ is only news for those that it affects directly. No doubt that we think about at ourselves, forgetting our environment.
“It seemed people didn’t mind someone being naked in a rainforest so long as it was nowhere near their lawn.”
In short: Do what you want, but do not bother me.
“His clothes were as black as space and his T-shirt had the words ‘Dark Matter’ on them. Maybe this was how certain people communicated, via slogans on their T-shirts.”
The new digital era that makes us communicate through the internet or slogans on our T-shirt, prevent us from communicating person to person.
“I realised I felt a terrible loneliness and so called him back. And he came and seemed happy to be wanted again.”
A dog is always a reliable companion, not like humans.
“It was full of the complexity and contradictions that I would soon learn made humans human.”
I especially like this sentence. It tells me that deep inside us there is a lot of good.
“We’re all lonely for something we don’t know we’re lonely for.”
Sometimes everyone feels something like this.
“And now we know we don’t have free will, people are getting pissed off about that, too.”
I completely agree, but the most of my time I try not to be aware of this sad reality.
“I knew that the whole of human history was full of people who tried against the odds.”
A very positive part of humankind’s nature.
“There was no such thing as impossible.”
Another positive part of us: we always continue trying.
“If you think something is ugly, look harder. Ugliness is just a failure of seeing.”
We need more of this kind of thinking.
Matt Haig was born in Sheffield in 1975 and grew up in Nottinghamshire. He now lives in Leeds. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the Independent, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Face.
His novels are often dark and quirky takes on family life. The Last Family in England tells the story of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1 with the protagonists as dogs. It was a bestseller in the UK and the film rights have been sold to Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company. His second novel Dead Fathers Club is based on Hamlet, telling the story of an introspective 11-year old dealing with the recent death of his father and the subsequent appearance of his father’s ghost. His third adult novel, The Possession of Mr Cave, deals with an obsessive father desperately trying to keep his teenage daughter safe. His children’s novel, Shadow Forest, is a fantasy that begins with the horrific death of the protagonists’ parents. It won the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize in 2007.