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Paula Cocozza

How to Be Human

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From Guardian writer Paula Cocozza, a debut novel of the breakdown of a marriage, suburbian claustrophobia, and a woman's unseemly passion for a fox

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 lawnhis ears spiked in attention and every hair bristling with his power to surpriseit 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, and they are determined to defend the boundary between the domestic and the wild. 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.
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