The First Bad Man

A book I always like to give away as a present is Miranda July’s first collection of short stories, “No one belongs here more than you”. They are all brilliant, weird, and heart-shaking in their own way. You can’t really go wrong with it, there is something for everyone in it, and it always tells you something new.

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With July’s first novel, “The First Bad Man”, it’s a little different. Even though it says on the back cover that I need to buy this twice and give one to a friend, I hesitated to do so. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed reading it, and there were many scenes and ideas I really liked: The Globus Hystericus for example, which appears to be the narrator’s main concern at first. Her visits to the doctor weave a beautiful and sad connection between the characters, and strain a golden thread throughout the book. Miranda July has great talent to subtly create scenes and spaces—I immediately felt as a neighbor or observer, hanging around somewhere in the vast, sunny and empty streets of Los Angeles. In a way, the whole story felt a bit like a rumor being spread in the neighborhood—a rumor about this really strange person and her gardener, a story about violence, unrequited love and parenthood.

Before thinking about giving this novel away as a present, I do recommend to read it for yourself first. It’s not for everyone. Also: The german title is “Der erste fiese Typ”, and this just sounds so wrong and absolutely not how Miranda July would speak; you should read it in english if you can.

For the book launch, Miranda created an online store where she sold artefacts that make an appearance in the book. A broken vase, a long dress with many buttons, a spoon or an old envelope—by now it’s all sold. July always adds a layer to everything. I still love that about her.


Read also: My book review on Fridolin Schley’s “Wildes, Schönes Tier” (german)

25. Oktober 2015