This is not the type of book that I would usually select for myself, but I am eternally grateful that I read it. I loved every minute of it, from start to finish. It's irreverent and funny and yet so thought provoking all at the same time. This is the story of an alien who comes to Earth and takes over the body of a famous mathematician. This mathematician, Andrew, has proven the Reimann hypothesis which will allow humans to make many technological advances in medicine, technology, space travel, etc..... The aliens don't believe that the humans are ready for these advancements because they view us as violent, crude and greedy. The aliens job is to erase all evidence that the hypothesis has ever been solved, including killing people who may know.
The alien Andrew is experiencing so many things for the first time. He learns about the importance of clothes, both in reality and metaphorically. He learns to speak English by reading Cosmopolitian magazine - no wonder he's so confused! He experiences emotions and music and art and so many things for the first time. I don't want to give too much of the book away but this one is a real treasure. Read it.
My favorite part comes at the end - a list of advice for being human - some of my favorites:
To like something is to insult it. Love it or hate it. Be passionate. As civilisation advances, so does indifference. It is a disease. Immunize yourself with art. And love.”
Don’t aim for perfection. Evolution, and life, only happen through mistakes.”
“The single biggest act of bravery or madness anyone can do is the act of change.”
Men are not from Mars. Women are not from Venus. Do not fall for categories. Everyone is everything. Every ingredient inside a star is inside you, and every personality that ever existed competes in the theatre of your mind for the main role.
And finally, my favorite:
“If you think something is ugly, look harder. Ugliness is just a failure of seeing.”
It goes without saying that I gave this one 5 out of 5 stars. Read it.