April 2020

About Living with Annie


“This story isn’t about me anyway. When I said it was my life story, I did not mean it was a story about my life. I meant it was a story about life, and mine.” 

When his boyfriend is diagnosed with a terminal brain disease, Jon sees an extreme solution. It’s living in the rats in his biotech lab: a parasitic fungus, nicknamed ‘Annie’, which replaces its host’s nerve cells. 

But Annie has been linked to violent behaviour, there’s no precedent for use in humans, and Jon’s radical idea is blocked by his boss – who seems to have her own agenda. Desperate for progress, Jon makes a fateful decision.

Enter Anthony Cogan: paralysed, dying and willing to try anything…

One of the most original and inventive novels I’ve read for years. A thriller, a love story, a scientific fable: it mixes up genres like a mad scientist shaking a test tube. It’s the sort of book you want to read at two speeds – very quickly, carried along by a plot that grabs you in the opening pages, and very slowly, allowing you to savour each beautifully crafted phrase.

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
Booker Prize Judge

Pushes every button: funny, moving, compassionate, clever, immensely thought-provoking – a real page-turner.

Robert West
Professor of Psychology UCL