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How to Be Human (Hardback)
  • How to Be Human (Hardback)
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How to Be Human (Hardback)

(author)
£12.99
Hardback 320 Pages / Published: 06/04/2017
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There was a baby on the back step. A white bundle, downwards sloping, spilling two arms and a head, the head looking at the edge of the step precariously. Not really looking. The eyes were shut.

You've seen a fox. Come face to face in an unexpected place, or at an unexpected moment. And he has looked at you, as you have looked at him. As if he has something to tell you, or you have something to tell him. But what if it didn't stop there?

When Mary arrives home from work one day to find a magnificent fox on her lawn - his ears spiked in attention and every hair bristling with his power to surprise - it is only the beginning.

He brings gifts (at least, Mary imagines they are gifts), and gradually makes himself at home. And as he listens to Mary, Mary listens back. She begins to hear herself for the first time in years. Her bullish ex-boyfriend, still lurking on the fringes of her life, would be appalled. So would the neighbours with a new baby. They only like wildlife that fits with the decor.

But inside Mary a wildness is growing that will not be tamed.

In this extraordinary debut, the lines between sanity and safety, obsession and delusion blur, in a thrilling exploration of what makes us human.

‘An intriguing and subversive debut, charged with the power of the ignored and the suppressed.’ – Hilary Mantel

‘Eerie, original...A thrilling exploration of what makes us human.’ - The I

Publisher: Cornerstone
ISBN: 9781786330338
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 461 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"How to Be Human is an intriguing and subversive debut, an eerie tale that acts on the reader like a ghost story, charged with the power of the ignored and the suppressed. If we disdain our animal selves, they trail us, shadowing us at dawn and dusk. Paula Cocozza shows us that the line between the wilderness and the city is thin, easily transgressed; the ghost breathing in the thicket is our own wild nature." -- Hilary Mantel
"There is much of [Ali] Smith's playfulness in Paula Cocozza's enchanting debut . . . For all its suggestiveness and sensuality, [her] narrative is artfully restrained . . . In this startling debut, [she] seems to be saying that, no matter how lonely the city becomes, through an open window a mass of life is listening back." * Times Literary Supplement *
"[An] impressive debut" * Irish Times, International Fiction Book of the Year *
"Cocozza has a wonderful eye for detail, and her descriptions of the natural world are uncanny . . . She takes a big risk in narrating some sections from the point of view of the fox, and pulls it off with aplomb." * Guardian *
"Unsettling, the writing often vivid and rich." * Observer *
"Hypnotic . . . suspenseful . . . wonderfully sly and assured . . . Readers may come to realize they are on thrillingly unstable ground." * New York Times Book Review *
"Intriguing and unsettling . . . the tricky, shifting substance of relationships is so insightfully drawn and constantly surprises." -- Laura Barnett, author of THE VERSIONS OF US
"A thrilling psychodrama . . . She brilliantly captures a sense of Hitchcockian, curtain-twitching intensity . . . Like the scent of a fox, truth and fact in How to Be Human start to evaporate. What is left behind is a pervasive sense that beneath the veneer of civility, something wilder is always lurking." * Economist *
"Sharp, thoughtful . . . exhilarating . . . the plot slips from urban pastoral to tense thriller." * Newsweek *
"Cocozza's brilliant debut novel [is] a beguiling, highly inventive story about loneliness and finding a place in the world . . . A disturbing humour underpins Mary's voice, a mesmerising mix of delusion and discernment . . . The momentum is achieved through Cocozza's edgy, atmospheric writing." * Irish Times *
"Paula Cocozza's intense, fox-like powers of observation allow her to stalk the claims of territory and hidden wildness that energise this taut, shimmering novel." -- Richard Beard, author of THE ACTS OF THE ASSASSINS
"Eerie, original and subversive, How to be Human is a fascinating yet disturbing look at obsession, delusion and loneliness . . A thrilling exploration of what makes us human." * i *
"A writer who is clearly unafraid of launching herself with a bang . . . Compelling . . . We are reminded of how close to the surface primal instincts can prowl." * Telegraph *
"Nicely balanced between the serious and the lighter-hearted, Cocozza's novel is an engaging read." * Sunday Times *
"In turn devastating, heart-warming and absurd, How to Be Human is an astonishing debut . . . At its core, it is a powerful and tender portrait of madness, loss and love." * i *
"Cocozza builds up equal measures of dread, danger and derangement as Mary brilliantly but bizarrely redefines what her future might look like." -- Eithne Farry * Sunday Express *
"A singular love story of dominance and betrayal, this novel sets the tone for what will hopefully be a long and strange literary career." * Kirkus Reviews *
"This brilliantly eerie novel is a powerful meditation on the blurred lines between sanity and delusion, the wild and so-called civilisation." * The Lady *
"An atmospheric tale about safety, sanity and the complexity of relationships." * Big Issue in the North *

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