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The First Bad Man: A Novel

The First Bad Man: A Novel

Escrito por Miranda July

Narrado por Miranda July


The First Bad Man: A Novel

Escrito por Miranda July

Narrado por Miranda July

valoraciones:
4/5 (39 valoraciones)
Longitud:
8 horas
Publicado:
Jan 13, 2015
ISBN:
9781442380691
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Nota del editor

A lovely disruption…

The rigid life of an uptight woman in her 40s gets interrupted by romantic fantasies and a young houseguest. What follows is an intriguing look into sexuality, human interaction, and what it means to love and be loved.

Descripción

From the acclaimed filmmaker, artist, and bestselling author of No One Belongs Here More Than You, a spectacular debut novel that is so heartbreaking, so dirty, so tender, so funny-so Miranda July-that readers will be blown away.

Here is Cheryl, a tightly-wound, vulnerable woman who lives alone, with a perpetual lump in her throat. She is haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six, who sometimes recurs as other people's babies. Cheryl is also obsessed with Phillip, a philandering board member at the women's self-defense nonprofit where she works. She believes they've been making love for many lifetimes, though they have yet to consummate in this one.

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 bullies Cheryl into reality and, unexpectedly, provides her the love of a lifetime.

Tender, gripping, slyly hilarious, infused with raging sexual obsession and fierce maternal love, Miranda July's first novel confirms her as a spectacularly original, iconic, and important voice today, and a writer for all time. The First Bad Man is dazzling, disorienting, and unforgettable.
Publicado:
Jan 13, 2015
ISBN:
9781442380691
Formato:
Audiolibro

También disponible como...

También disponible como libroLibro


Sobre el autor

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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39 valoraciones / 16 Reseñas
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Reseñas de lectores

  • (4/5)
    Cheryl is isolated, unconnected to others (even her work colleagues; she works from home), unaccustomed to love and yet she is bursting with potential for sexual and maternal love most of which gets aired only in her imagination. When circumstance puts Cheryl in the way of new actualities (though ones she hasn’t previously imagined), she has the good sense to follow her instincts and let love take its course, whatever that might be. At once tender and tentative, July follows Cheryl through a year of changes, kooky changes you might say, in which Cheryl grows, adapts, and thoroughly transforms, but she still seems very much herself at the close. July’s fictional world is peopled with initially odd but genuinely caring individuals. Almost fancifully so. And that might be consistent with the near fairytale-like quality of this story. What we get here is an ethereal overview of love in a few peculiarly individual instantiations. You can’t help but fear for Cheryl, she seems to fragile and unable to defend herself. Yet July never places obstacles before her that she can’t overcome or that don’t dissolve as soon as she faces up to them. And you can’t help but wish that world were actually like this.Of course, once you catch the cadence of July’s humour, you also find her writing to be immensely witty, indeed delightful. And that will undoubtedly be the impression you take away. Gently recommended.
  • (4/5)
    The details here are bizarre but there's an emotional realness and depth that really grounds the story and keeps the weirdness from becoming a gimmick. I would compare it to A Confederacy of Dunces (though the protagonist is far more likable) and even some of Chuck Palahniuk's writing through the more transgressive, sexual passages.
  • (4/5)
    This novel almost lost me in the beginning because I could not figure out what was going on. I'm glad I hung in there for this strange but beguiling story. Kind of saw the ending coming but I enjoyed the path to get there.
  • (5/5)
    Miranda July has gone and done it again - this is not simply a book, it is a whole new region filled with something in shape of a book. The words she uses are the very same we all use, but the way she looks at things and shows them is so much more different than most people's. I was horrified by some parts (this is where I deduct half a start, simply because I could not take it) and delighted by others, and I laughed - quite a lot - but most of all I liked that she got me not only thinking, but also feeling - possibly even some very real thoughts and feelings, based on the completely unbelievably over the top goings on in the book. It worked wonderfully. July is a skilled, smart writer and she delighted throughout. I would very much recommend anyone reading the book, just to see how they react and what it does to them. For me it worked like a visual piece of art works, not literature. Sadly, I cannot elaborate on this, but maybe you will see what I mean once you start reading it. It is not an easy reading piece, oh no - but life is actually too precious to be reading those anyway.
  • (2/5)
    A very strange novel. Initially the strangeness was intriguing but towards the middle it got a little too weird and disturbing. I stuck with it and it did getter better towards the end but not enough for me to recommend this as a must read.
  • (5/5)
    Warning: Spoilers. And very long. Our narrator is Cheryl. She is middle-aged management at an organization that teaches self-defense,but which has expanded to include a popular self-defense workout regimen. Cheryl is the steady background in the lives of her coworkers. She is largely invisible to them, and she doesn't seem to mind. When they do see her, they see her as a profound neutral: neither here nor there. The man she fantasizes about in reality tells her that she is neither masculine nor feminine. Her halves are (appear to be?) "balanced." She receives this blankly. In the world Cheryl occupies, of dojos (and eventually of chromatologists, play therapists and rebirthing therapies) this is perhaps a compliment (I almost wrote "complement" which is more to the point): she is both yin and yang. Cheryl never seems to assert herself one way or the other. She understands herself as heterosexual, but she is so accustomed to not being looked at that it seems she's mostly forgotten it. She lives mostly in her head and in her very ordered and quiet home. She is not so much asexual as a result of her invisibility as she is auto-sexual. But "auto-sexual" doesn't quite capture her. She is no mere onanist; she is metasexual. Take her "thing." The thing she likes to do (or imagine doing) during sex. She imagines the sex she is having and imagines the order of the room, and then she receives permission for her to "think about her thing" which allows her to imagine the order of the room and the sex, and then she receives permission to "think about her thing" anew, and so on. Her thing is a fantasy within a fantasy within a fantasy; her sexuality is the endless imagining the scene, but not the scene itself. She seems to know that even when she is flesh-and-bones in the scene she is not.Clee, the imposing houseguest who disturbs the special order of Cheryl's tidy life, is the only person who looks at Cheryl. She sees her, but more rightly, she glares at her. Clee looks at Cheryl and doesn't like what she sees, and isn't afraid to tell her so. She tells Cheryl she is pathetic and sad, and, pathetically and sadly, Cheryl agrees.But where the reader might expect the arc of the book to be Cheryl's undoing at the hands of an unlikely and churlish guest (and in many ways it IS that), Cheryl rallies. She turns the real aggression into a game. They allow themselves to fight. They discuss a fighting contract. They explore the game together. They memorize the lines and moves from Cheryl's self-defense videos. This is a kind of romance because playing WITH someone else is a joint and titillating exploration of boundaries.I expected the relationship between Clee and Cheryl to turn sexual, but was still surprised by how and when it did. The first sexual thoughts Cheryl has about Clee come when Cheryl metasexually imagines herself as Phillip, the crush that forsook her for a 16-year-old. She imagines herself as Phillip, imagines his cock & then imagines fucking Clee, her own stand-in too-young-lover. She is Phillip everywhere and fucking everywhere. Even the garden snails become a part of her fantasy.Clee senses all this, but then knows. Cheryl has crossed a boundary; she violates Clee in her fantasies. In truth, the real Phillip was fucking Clee after an encounter in the chromatologist's waiting room. (Did they recognize one another? Does Clee sleep with Phillip to secretly harm Cheryl? To punish her in action for what Cheryl violated in thought?) The affair between Clee and Phillip happens for Clee the way Cheryl had imagined it would happen for her. The chromatologist began as a pretext. Cheryl wrote the story, but it happened for someone else. I jump ahead. Cheryl's initial sexual impulse for Clee is metasexual and indirect. Cheryl is never herself. She interpolates Phillip's desires. She violates Clee by making her a stand in for the "young lover." This is a game that Clee doesn't want to play. Clee's pregnancy brings a halt to their aggressive relationship and ushers in a new era of platonic friendship. Cheryl "shapes" the baby by announcing biological developments. They hum Gregorian syllables to Clee's belly (which will eventually return as "their song"). Pregnancy becomes birth, and Cheryl recognizes the child as a Kubelko Bondy--a primordial baby that knows her, that has been reaching out to her since she was 9. Insofar as Clee planned to give the (unwanted) child up for adoption, the baby is truly more connected to Cheryl. Time & things alter in the post-labor hours; Clee's aggression has transformed to affection, & this is when the turn to sexuality finally happens, on the hospital bed. Once again Cheryl makes a surprising decision and accepts it. Openly. She becomes proud of it, even though her relationship is alienating to her co-board members. She is willing to change her life for the promise of those kisses (sex hasn't happened yet). Despite her fastidiousness, Cheryl is most to most everything. As for actual sex, despite her rah-rah public enthusiasm, Cheryl is still trying to do "her thing." But she can't quite do it, because Clee is there with her body. So she tries her other "thing" (being Phillip), and that helps, but there is still Clee's body & its responses that make it impossible for Cheryl to reach climax (can Cheryl EVER reach climax?). In her fantasies it is an impossibly receding horizon.Cheryl leaves Clee. Or asks her to leave. Clee is 20, Clee needs her space, Clee is too much to take care of in addition to a baby. The baby is Kubelko Bondy, truly; Cheryl has become its mother. Jack is connected to her, and it is right, to everyone, that she remain connected. She becomes legal guardian and Clee disappears. A reciprocal exchange. Clee gets her freedom and Cheryl is united, alone, with Kubelko Bondy. Even the grandparents refuse the title: "Let him come to us in the spirit of friendship and community later on in life."Cheryl resumes her orderly life insofar as it can be orderly with a baby around. The "grandparents" note the silence. 7 months have passed since the birth and she's only non-verbally spoken with Kubelko Bondy. She begins to speak aloud, and the baby becomes Jack. Then Phillip arrives at her door with all of his INFORMATION. He is done with the young. He is ready to settle down. It is not Cheryl's and Phillip's baby, but it could be *like* it is. It could come full circle. She could do her thing. She could stop being Phillip's penis and feel Phillip's penis instead.But Phillip has his own thing. She lets him do his thing, and then she tries to do her thing, but ends incompletely, as a metasexual encounter inevitably must. Cheryl cannot be satisfied, this much is clear. Her sexuality is boundless. When Phillip says she is both mother & father she pricks: I am mother.Her satisfaction is in this, we suppose, but cannot know. She invites Phillip to leave. So that she can be everything.She gets what she always wanted. A Kubelko Bondy. Clee gets what she wants: freedom. Phillip has come too little, too late. Whatever happens in the interim, when we finally see them it is as in the first story she told Jack--a running to greet each other after presumably much time and space. And Clee is there. How, and in what capacity, we are left to wonder. Did they reunite or do they continually reunite throughout history to see the child? Is it as Cheryl imagined, or has it happened in spite of all her imaginings?
  • (4/5)
    This is either brilliant or crazy. Or both. July takes you on an intense and loopy journey, but all of it is with the aim of exploring her main character, a lonely and disillusioned middle-aged woman, who unexpectedly finds power and meaning via a series of events that are super strange. July is a lovely, quirky writer with an incredible imagination and an aching sympathy for her characters. Be prepared to be baffled, wowed and exhausted.
  • (3/5)
    Cheryl is a middle-aged woman who enters into a relationship with a much younger woman. It starts off with violence, turns into a love relationship when the younger woman gets pregnant by an older man who was once Cheryl’s interest, then that relationship ends after the birth. However, Cheryl is left with the baby. Very strange but interesting book.
  • (4/5)
    Cheryl Glickman may not know any of Barbara Pym's excellent women, but this protagonist of Miranda July's first novel is one of them. The middle-aged, never-married Cheryl lives on her own in a neatly appointed house that is no home, and works for a self-defense nonprofit organization that is as New Age and California as anything that is New Age and in California can be.This is a woman who thinks she knows herself, but she's as much a stranger to her as everyone else in the world. (Well, all perhaps one, but more of that later.) After all, she's the kind of woman who "strolled through the parking garage and into the elevator, pressing twelve with a casual, fun-loving finger. The kind of finger that was up for anything."In a manner both droll and deft, July lays out Cheryl's sterile life and work. The part where the nonprofit's founders talked her into staying home most of the time, and out of their hair, is magnificent. Cheryl is clueless that her employers don't want her around but keep paying her anyway:"Then he told me my managerial style was more effective from a distance, so my job was now work-from-home though I was welcome to come in one day for a week and for board meetings."Perhaps that's because "Once Carl called me ginjo, which I thought meant 'sister' until he told me it's Japanese for a man, usually an elderly man who lives in isolation while he keeps the fire burning for the whole village". Or something like that.Besides developing a housework system that involves doing no housework, Cheryl has two obsessions. One is a board member of the nonprofit who she thinks has been her great love in past lives. In this life, Phillip is a self-absorbed old man who occasionally texts or talks to her about his new obsession -- a much, much younger woman.Her other obsession is a baby she met when she was a child. Cheryl thinks she had a conversation with this child, Kubelko Bondy, and that, appropriately enough for his last name, they bonded:"I watched him crying and waited for someone to come but no one came so I heaved him onto my small lap and rocked his chubby body. He calmed almost immediately. I kept my arms around him and he looked at me and I looked at him and he looked at me and I knew that he loved me more than his mother and father and that in some very real and permanent way he belonged to me. ..."Seconds later he sailed out into the night, my own dear boy. Never to be seen again."Except I did see him again -- again and again. Sometimes he's a newborn, sometimes he's already toddling along. As I pulled out of my parking spot I got a better look at the baby in the car next to mine. Just some kid."When not doing whatever it is she does for the nonprofit, listening to Phillip dither over his young woman or searching for her dear boy, she deals with her globus. She has trouble swallowing and is nearly as obsessed with spitting discreetly as she is with her other obsessions.Then her employers dump their unemployed daughter, Clee, on her lap. Everyone -- really, everyone -- who puts this young woman up is delighted to see her leave. Clee, of course, upsets Cheryl's world.The novel then takes a wild turn. Then it gets weird. Then something big happens. And then something even bigger happens. There were times I wasn't sure I could keep on reading about Cheryl's interior life and how it was affecting what was going on with her unwelcome houseguest, let alone how life with her unexpected houseguest was affecting her interior life. Cheryl is unreliable not because she sets out to deceive the reader, but because she is so clueless about herself and her world. But she's certainly far more open to experiencing life as it comes to her than the closed-up woman who thinks she has a finger that is up for anything.And then there is one of the sweetest, best realized endings to a novel in some time. It was unexpected, satisfying and exactly right.It's not often an author can turn the course of a novel and have it work. For a debut novelist to do this more than once and still have it all work is unexpected. Reading The First Bad Man is like watching a high-wire artist perform magic tricks while jumping through hoops of fire. And coming out at the other end with everything in place.July has published short stories and is an accomplished actress and filmmaker. Even with all the evidence of a creative free spirit who knows narrative and character, and how well they can work together, this novel is still a remarkable work to behold.
  • (3/5)
    One of the strangest books I've ever read. Almost gave up at the beginning with all the physical abuse, till it metamorphosed into sexual love; almost gave up when the receptionist turned into a therapist until, surreally, she came out with some wise things; but by the end I sort of wished I had given up - not sure it's exactly my cup of tea. Very inventive cinematic but not quite great writing.
  • (4/5)
    Really Funny. Frank. Explicit. Heartwarming. I'll never forget this one.
  • (5/5)
    This is the saddest and beautiful story I have ever read. Still crying. Thank you Miranda.
  • (5/5)
    Wow. Incredible voice and characters. I truly loved listening to this audio book.
  • (5/5)
    Bravo for daring to be different...or is it actually daring to being ‘realistic’? Instant fan.
  • (5/5)
    I know i’ve enjoyed a book thoroughly when I miss the characters after it’s ended.
  • (3/5)
    I was really only reading this book to completion so that I could say with certainty that I did not like it. But then, I started to like it. It took about 2/3 of the book of not liking it before my opinion changed, and that first 2/3 did do some damage, but I actually ended up liking the main character! This may shock some people, as Cheryl is a whacked out kook-ball with a very odd way of interacting with people. She also has some unorthodox methods for sexual gratification, but who am I to judge? Maybe I have too, to some people.The problems I had with the first sections of the book were almost all to do with the manufactured quirkiness of the prose, and the physical-fighting-for-arousal stuff the main character engaged in. But then it turned to a story with a different focus and I became engaged. That surprised me, and I am still quite confused about my overall feelings on the book. But...far from being a waste of my time, it was thought provoking and it kept me reading.