Professor Andrew Martin has been taken over by an alien, who has been sent to earth to undo the professor's latest mathematical discovery to prevent humans from becoming too advanced.
The alien comes from a perfect world, where no-one ages or dies and there is no unhappiness or conflict so to start with he is unable to comprehend anything about being human. However during the novel, the alien begins to understand the joys of being alive as a human on earth, while at the same time questioning some of our priorities and our relationships with each other and with nature:
"The humans are scared of nature, and are greatly reassured when they can prove to themselves that they have mastery over it. This is why lawns exist and why wolves evolved into dogs and why their architecture is based on unnatural shapes."
Will the alien Andrew Martin carry out the task he has been sent to do or will he find peace as a human?
Taking a magical realism rather than SF approach, this is a wonderful novel, by turns hilarious and moving and always insightful and life affirming.