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The instant New York Times bestseller is “astonishing...In one novel, Miranda July tells us more about our universal need to be loved, and our ability to love and be loved, than most earthbound authors will in a lifetime” (Vanity Fair).
In The First Bad Man, Miranda July tells the story of Cheryl, a vulnerable, uptight woman in her early forties who lives alone, with a perpetual lump in her throat, unable to cry. Cheryl is haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six; she also believes she has a profound connection with Phillip, a philandering board member at Open Palm, the women’s self-defense studio where she has worked for twenty years.
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 teaches Cheryl what it means to love and be loved and, inadvertently, provides the solace of a lifetime.
“Brilliant, hilarious, irreverent, piercing—The First Bad Man powers past sexual boundaries and gender identification into the surprising galaxy of primal connection” (O, The Oprah Magazine).
This is a spectacularly original, unsettling, accomplished, and moving first novel with a tender and beguiling happy ending.
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2015: Cheryl Glickman is an employee at a self-defense nonprofit, an ironic profession once you get to know her. She lives alone, pickling in her eccentricities, and obsesses over a douchey co-worker with designs on much younger prey. If anyone needs the sense knocked into her, it is Cheryl, and lo and behold, an unwelcome and most unsanitary houseguest just might (literally) be up to the task. As Cheryl is taken outside of her comfort zone, you may be as well when reading Miranda July’s hilariously irreverent and oddly romantic novel, The First Bad Man. There are some outlandishly crude moments that belie what ends up being an achingly tender treatise on love and motherhood. It is a testament to July’s skill as a storyteller that she is able to make you laugh, cringe, and cry from one page to the next, and not only sympathize with a very unlikely heroine, but actually relate to her. Let your freak flags fly and enjoy. –Erin KodicekAbout the Author:
Miranda July is a filmmaker, artist, and writer. Her most recent book is The First Bad Man, a novel. July’s collection of stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and has been published in twenty-three countries. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Harper’s, and The New Yorker; It Chooses You was her first book of nonfiction. She wrote, directed and starred in The Future and Me and You and Everyone We Know—winner of the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Special Jury Prize at Sundance. July’s participatory art works include the website Learning to Love You More (with artist Harrell Fletcher), Eleven Heavy Things (a sculpture garden created for the Venice Biennale), New Society (a performance), and Somebody (a messaging app created with Miu Miu.) She is currently working on a new feature film. Raised in Berkeley, California, July lives in Los Angeles.
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