The First Bad Man by Miranda July, and it is AMAZING!!! I loved her book of short stories and was so excited when I recently learned a novel was coming. My copy came right away, pre-ordered!
The First Bad Man starts off wonderfully -- with a neurotic and sweet narrator who is a painfully exquisite observer of her internal world. The interiority here is fascinating and intense and brilliant. I expected little in the ways of plot, however, thinking that the character study would carry the novel. I was wrong! The story really revs up in a complex and satisfying way. Cheryl, who is 43, has her life thrown into chaos when her bosses ask her to take in their 20 year old daughter. The unique dynamic between them, and the way it shifts and develops is the heart of the novel.
There are a number of surprises, but it is all held together by the odd yet logical consistency of Cheryl's voice. There are many, many hilarious moments in this book, but also many that are painful, and many that are oddly beautiful. By the end I was in tears of happiness, so pleased.
I loved The First Bad Man so much. I don't know what I'll do until Miranda July writes another book!