—Lauren Groff, New York Times
“THE FIRST BAD MAN is a brave undertaking for July, and not just because it finds her committing to long-form storytelling without a visual element for the first time. It incorporates a boldly feminist recasting of familiar tropes and genres...Though this is her first novel, July is an accomplished writer of short fiction, and within THE FIRST BAD MAN live a handful of perfectly drawn short stories...July has an enviable talent for sketching inner life as all-consuming...within the context of the wider world—in which all speech is policed, but especially women’s stories about their uniquely feminine personal experiences—THE FIRST BAD MAN feels visionary…few have Miranda July’s…particular talent for couching what feel like naked, universal truths in clouds of the imagined and the impossible.”
—Karina Longworth, Slate
“July’s work is tied together by her singular, confident, multifaceted voice. Her characters are often unusual and under-confident; her writing is always the former and never the latter. THE FIRST BAD MAN, July’s debut novel, tells the story of an outwardly boring person whose interior life is a mosaic of delightful neuroses and staggering self-doubt... beautifully worded, emotionally complex, impressively but quietly insightful, and, in the right light, so, so funny.”
—Josh Modell, The AV Club
“Miranda July — filmmaker, performance artist and now novelist — is ready to leave the old Miranda July behind. You know the one: The curly haired gamin, her impossibly blue eyes swirling with ideas. The irrepressible creative blowing cinematic kisses to the world…THE FIRST BAD MAN is about to complicate the picture. Striking and sexually bold, it reveals a side that is darker and that, truth be told, has lurked in her work all along…Though THE FIRST BAD MAN actively challenges a reader's comfort zone, July creates a female neurotic archetype that's familiar and fresh at once.”
—Los Angeles Times
—NPR "All Things Considered"
"Miranda July blurs fiction and reality to promote a new novel"
—New York Times
“[July’s] work seems to grow deeper and more endearing with each iteration, while retaining its hysterical-neurotic charms and crisp, colloquial wit.”
—Boris Kachka, New York Magazine
“Astonishing… in one novel, 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.”
“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
"July's writing is strange and beautiful... [The First Bad Man will] keep readers contemplating the family roles and games adults undertake."
“July brings the characteristic humor, frankness and emotional ruthlessness of her previous work in film, prose and performance to a larger canvas… A sometimes-funny, sometimes-upsetting, surprisingly absorbing novel that lives up to the expectations created by July's earlier work and demonstrates her ability to carry the qualities of her short fiction into the thickly fleshed-out world of a novel.”
“July uses novel-length fiction—her first—and a first-person narrative to her advantage in telling one woman’s deeply psychological, often funny, and certainly unconventional story cinematically.”