Staff love: The First Bad Man by Miranda July

FirstBadMan2015 is just around the corner and with it comes one of our most anticipated and most loved books of the year, already! The First Bad Man by Miranda July is a huge staff favourite, so here’s a few folk to tell you why.

Our international agencies manager Clare has been a massive supporter of the book, thrusting it into the hands of anyone she met, here’s what she has to say about it:

“I offered Canongate my severed little finger to publish this book. Luckily it didn’t come to that, but my obsession with the The First Bad Man hasn’t abated. From the first page July inspired a feverish evangelism in me – mid-book I stopped friends in the street to talk about it, gesticulating wildly and exclaiming ‘it opened up a new part of my mind’ (really!).

“In this gloriously funny, shudderingly awkward, beautiful ache of a book, you inhabit the mind one of the most neurotic characters ever written. Essentially about our need for love and community and the incredible obstacles we can create to avoid it – it’s the protagonist’s exquisitely brutal and downright bizarre journey to find herself that makes you look at strangers (and yourself!) in a new way. Miranda July is my hero.”

Jess was an early recipient of Clare’s enthusiasm, and it’s contagious, as she’s another huge fan:

“It is hard to know where to begin my review of this delightful, beguiling novel. On the one hand, it’s a straightforward story – there are no tricky underlying structures, literary conceits or hair-raising twists – but on the other hand, it’s utterly original and I feel like I have never read anything like it.

“Cheryl is a woman in her 40s who works for a self-defence non-profit which has parlayed its resources into (very profitable) exercise DVDs. She believes herself to be in love with one of the organisation’s board members; another board member asks her to put up their 20 year old daughter; she visits a ‘chromomancer’ and later, his receptionist-therapist; the beloved makes a loathsome revelation; the house-guest bullies her before their relationship blossoms in a very strange direction; a baby is born; a measure of peace is achieved.

“It all sounds flimsy, I know, but it is absolutely compelling: some truly hilarious lack of self-awareness mixed with poignant depth of honesty.  It all adds up to a book I could not put down: beautiful and strange and funny and sad and absurd and profound. I absolutely loved it and I think most humans will feel the same.”

And it’s not just the women who are sold on it, here’s what some of the chaps said about it from our Men Reading Women faves:

I read the first chapter snippet and it rules from the very first sentence.

Deeply funny without being inhumane towards its protagonists – you can laugh at them while still empathising with them.

For more info on The First Bad Man by Miranda July, visit our website – you’ll find it in shops from January 2nd.

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