SECOND OPINION: How to be Human by Paula Cocozza

Review published on June 18, 2017.

How to be Human is an extraordinary and powerful debut novel that examines the relationship between animals and humans. It questions the definition of humanity and the fine line between mental balance and instability. The story begins when Mary, recently estranged from her long-term partner and experiencing turmoil in her professional life, finds an urban dog fox on her lawn. The fox brings her gifts, including a very strange one. As Mary’s professional and personal life disintegrates, she finds herself isolated in her home with only the fox for company.

The novel is a slow and lyrical read, replete with beautiful imagery and I am unable to compare it with other novels. I have often seen foxes on my lawn in the middle of the night or walking down a suburban street as if they owned the world and it has often given me thrill. Thus elements of the novel resonated with me. The author touched on subjects such as loneliness, mental health and isolation from neighbours, which many readers will identify with. An exceptional, multilayered novel.

Mary Gibson 4/4

How to be Human by Paula Cocozza
Hutchinson 9781786330338 hbk Apr 2017

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