We All Begin As Strangers by Harriet Cummings
(Orion, 2017)

We All Begin As Strangers

by Harriet Cummings

Summer of 1984, a figure known as The Fox is breaking into homes in a rural English village, creeping into private lives and setting up camp to watch people. As time stretches on, a sticky heat hanging in the air, paranoia sets in.

It starts off small: a sense of someone in the room, muddy footprints trailing up the stairs, fingerprints smudged on the bathroom mirror. Then things are taken or, even stranger, troubling objects begin to appear. Finally, it’s one of their own they find gone. Anna is missing and all fingers point to The Fox. But as the heat intensifies the villagers are growing fearful for a different reason; that their own dark secrets will be uncovered.

Weaving together the voices of the village, We All Begin As Strangers is a beautifully observed and blackly witty look at what it takes to push a small community to the brink. Based on true events, it’s an unsettling portrayal of the crippling effects of loneliness and the true price we pay to belong.