How to Be Human

How to Be Human

Book - 2017
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Penguin Putnam
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.

Publisher: [Toronto] : Viking, c2017
ISBN: 9780143199229
Branch Call Number: FIC COC
Characteristics: 308 p. ;,21 cm.


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May 07, 2018

I enjoyed this novel, set on the edge between the urban and the wild. The protagonist, through a real or imagined relationship with a fox, frees herself from a controlling relationship with her boyfriend.

Oct 08, 2017

I believe this is the first book of the author Paula Cocozza. "How to be Human" truly begins with such promise. The author successfully develops an interesting protagonist whom the reader is rooting for. The writing style is rich. The reader can really sink their teeth into the story. I really cared where the story was headed. However, at some point Mary, the protagonist, stops being interesting and begins to become irrationally obsessed with her relationship with a fox. Of course, many people become very close to a pet - even a wild animal. But Mary's single minded interest in bringing this fox into her life to the exclusion of any normal human contact or activity was unnerving and did not ring true. I lost interest in Mary's fate as the book continued on its absurd trajectory. Hope Ms. Cocozza's next novel will bear her wonderful writing style and find a more relevant story line.

Jul 10, 2017

The Basis of the book is good with nice descriptions. I found it was dry and confusing at points when random characters would show up out of nowhere and there was no real conflict for the main character. I was slightly let down from the ending.

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