A Guardian literary highlight
A Huffington Post 'One to Watch'
'Astounding' LENA DUNHAM, creator of Girls and author of Not That Kind of Girl
'The First Bad Man brings together all of July's talents - it's a book that must be read, a book that must be purchased - in duplicate - one for you, one for a friend. Don't think you can loan this book - you'll never get it back' A. M. HOMES, author of This Book Will Save Your Life and May We Be Forgiven
The first novel by the filmmaker, artist and bestselling author Miranda July confirms her as a spectacularly original, iconic, and important voice today, and a writer for all time. The First Bad Man is dazzling and unforgettable.
July (No One Belongs Here More than You) successfully transitions from short stories to her first novel, introducing eccentric 40-something Cheryl Glickman in a tale about role-playing. In addition to sexual fantasies featuring her senior co-worker Phillip, unmarried Cheryl also imagines a perennial connection with babies. Her world is flipped upside down when Clee, her boss's 20-year-old daughter, moves in until she can get on her feet. Cheryl's fantasies soon involve Clee with any man that passes by, and she becomes aroused when Clee plays along with self-defense scenarios. When Phillip starts a relationship with a 16-year-old girl, Cheryl grows closer with Clee, switching between roles as her enemy, sparring partner, mother, grandmother, aunt, and girlfriend. Other characters give, or refuse to give, their own performances, including Clee's parents, who refuse to act as grandparents when she gets pregnant, and Cheryl's therapist, who plays mistress to the other office doctor. Cheryl and Clee's simulated fights in the first half will remind readers of July's peculiar short-story style, but the book hits its stride in the second half when Cheryl helps Clee through her pregnancy. July's writing is strange and beautiful, with enough cleverness woven into the characters' strange fantasy lives to keep readers contemplating the family roles and games adults undertake.