The single word to describe The First Bad Man is unforgettable. Nobody writes characters like Miranda July. Nobody. Prepare to fall in love (and fall over laughing/crying). But seriously, just read the plot description! I'm dying all over again. How do you even come up with this stuff?! And not only that, how do you write it WELL? Okay, I'm going to go read it again now, bye. Recommended By Adie B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed filmmaker, artist, and bestselling author of No One Belongs Here More Than You
, a spectacular debut novel that is so heartbreaking, so dirty, so tender, so funny — so Miranda July — that readers will be blown away.
Here is Cheryl, a tightly-wound, vulnerable woman who lives alone, with a perpetual lump in her throat. She is haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six, who sometimes recurs as other people’s babies. Cheryl is also obsessed with Phillip, a philandering board member at the women’s self-defense nonprofit where she works. She believes they’ve been making love for many lifetimes, though they have yet to consummate in this one.
When Cheryl’s bosses ask if their twenty-one-year-old daughter, Clee, can move into her house for a little while, Cheryl’s eccentrically ordered world explodes. And yet it is Clee — the selfish, cruel blond bombshell — who bullies Cheryl into reality and, unexpectedly, provides her the love of a lifetime.
Tender, gripping, slyly hilarious, infused with raging sexual obsession and fierce maternal love, Miranda July’s first novel confirms her as a spectacularly original, iconic, and important voice today, and a writer for all time. The First Bad Man is dazzling, disorienting, and unforgettable.
“Miranda July's ability to pervert norms while embracing what makes us normal is astounding. Writing in the first person with the frank, odd lilt of an utterly truthful character, she will make you laugh, cringe and recognize yourself in a woman you never planned to be. By the time July tackles motherhood, the book has become a bible. Never has a novel spoken so deeply to my sexuality, my spirituality, my secret self. I know I am not alone.” Lena Dunham
“With The First Bad Man, Miranda July provides an audaciously original, often hilarious map of the ever-expanding reach of unhinged imagination in America. With IMAX-scale emotional projections, a post-gay regimen of sexual fantasies, and a cast of riveting misfits worthy of Kurt Vonnegut, July takes us on a picaresque journey in which the heroine's ultimate challenge turns out to be a stunningly ordinary circumstance more transfixing than all the virtual caprices a 21st-century mind can muster.” Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon and Far from the Tree
“Miranda July has created in her stories and here in her amazing debut novel something close to a new literary genre. If science fiction speculates on new technologies in human life, July imagines new emotions that have never been described. Anger is erotic. Pleasure feels like fear. Sex dynamites everything around it. And yet we can’t stop having it. Not since David Foster Wallace has a writer so hilariously captured the wince-worthy adventures of the awkward human beings we all pretend we aren’t.” Mark Costello, author of Big If
“Miranda July's exciting and wild novel The First Bad Man begins deeply, absurdly funny, gets increasingly twisted and strange, and then ends quietly, urgently heartfelt. It is a novel about aging, about motherhood, about sex, about weird wounded women — yes — but it is really a novel about the desperate possibility in all of us to love and be loved. The First Bad Man is like no other novel you will read this year (or any other year).” Dana Spiotta, author of Eat the Document and Stone Arabia
“Compelling…will delight the open-minded reader looking for something new. It will satisfy July’s fans and win her many more.” Library Journal (starred review)
"Cheryl Glickman, Miranda July's heroine in this unforgettable novel, is one of the most original, most confounding and strangely sympathetic characters in recent fiction. She narrates this very intimate epic of a story — a story that starts in a place of brittle, quirky, loneliness and progresses into a profoundly moving story of nontraditional love and commitment. This novel is almost impossible to put down, and confirms July as a novelist of the first order." Dave Eggers, author of The Circle
“The ‘yes, that’s really the way it is!’ moments in this book came so fast and furious that I found myself page-turningly propelled into a story that, despite its subtly off-kilter course, somehow — I don’t know how — ended up revealing the invisible and depthless emotional reality that roils and tugs beneath us all. Miranda July’s protagonist inhabits this uncharted world of unspeakable desires, embarrassing hopes and shifting conquests more fully than any in contemporary fiction I can recall, and you will inhabit it right along with her. You will also inhabit her. And she, you. The First Bad Man is a strange miracle of a book, and despite the opinion of its main character, a truly great American love story for our time.” Chris Ware, author of Building Stories
About the Author
Miranda July is a filmmaker, writer, and artist. She wrote, directed, and starred in The Future. Her film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, received a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Caméra d’Or at Cannes. July’s stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Harper’s. No One Belongs Here More Than You won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and has been published in twenty-three countries. In 2014 she debuted the audience-participatory performance, New Society, at the Walker Art Center and launched the messaging service app, Somebody.