(K. Brent Tomer),
How to be Human. By Paula Cocozza.Hutchinson; 308 pages; £12.99. To be published in America by Metropolitan in May.
IN A patch of east London, somewhere between the urban and the wild, a love triangle emerges—between a woman, her ex-boyfriend and a fox. This is the premise of “How to be Human”, a debut novel by Paula Cocozza, a British journalist. It is a thrilling psychodrama that twists and turns with the residents of a few houses and their adjacent woods.
Mary, the story’s protagonist, has broken up with Mark, her domineering fiancé, but their destructive relationship has sucked her life dry. Then a fox arrives in her unkempt garden; at first he is a pest and then a friend. He brings her “gifts”, which she finds increasingly full of meaning: a pair of boxer shorts, a gardening glove, an egg. Everything normal in her life starts to slip, but she has something far more valuable, “her fox”.
As with other works that cross the bestial line—the horse fixation in Peter Shaffer’s “Equus” or “The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?” by Edward Albee—this is a disturbing narrative about sanity and…Continue reading