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Reviews of All Fours by Miranda July

All Fours

A Novel

by Miranda July

All Fours by Miranda July X
All Fours by Miranda July
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    May 2024, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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Book Summary

The New York Times bestselling author returns with an irreverently sexy, tender, hilarious and surprising novel about a woman upending her life

A semi-famous artist announces her plan to drive cross-country, from LA to NY. Thirty minutes after leaving her husband and child at home, she spontaneously exits the freeway, checks into a nondescript motel, and immerses herself in an entirely different journey.

Miranda July's second novel confirms the brilliance of her unique approach to fiction. With July's wry voice, perfect comic timing, unabashed curiosity about human intimacy, and palpable delight in pushing boundaries, All Fours tells the story of one woman's quest for a new kind of freedom. Part absurd entertainment, part tender reinvention of the sexual, romantic, and domestic life of a forty-five-year-old female artist, All Fours transcends expectation while excavating our beliefs about life lived as a woman. Once again, July hijacks the familiar and turns it into something new and thrillingly, profoundly alive.

Excerpt
All Fours

Originally I had planned to get to New York the normal way, fly there, but then Harris and I had gotten into an odd conversation with another couple at a party. Our friend Sonja said she loved to drive; she missed having the time to drive across the country. And Harris said, Well, that figures.

What do you mean? we all said. Harris just shrugged, took a sip of his drink. He doesn't talk much at parties. He hangs back, not needing anything from anyone, which of course draws people toward him. I've watched him move from room to room, running in slow motion from a crowd that is unconsciously chasing him.

'Why does that figure?' Sonja said, smiling. She wasn't going to let this go. And maybe because it was her, so charming with her Auckland accent and big breasts, Harris suddenly laid out a fully formed theory.

'Well, in life there are Parkers and there are Drivers,' he began. 'Drivers are able to maintain awareness and engagement even when life is boring. They don't need ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

An unnamed 45-year-old woman who is a writer/artist of modest fame plans a solo drive to New York City from her home in Los Angeles to celebrate a career success, leaving her husband and child behind. But about 30 minutes from home she encounters a young man named Davey at a gas station and feels an intense romantic pull. July captures desperate sexual yearning and the frenzied joy of falling in love vividly and intensely — the narrator is undone by her feelings for Davey. All Fours is unique in allowing romantic and sexual satisfaction to be absolutely central to a woman's happiness — and a middle-aged woman with a family at that. There have been plenty of recent books about polyamory, and it seems at first like this is where July will straightforwardly take her story. But July doesn't take the expected path with anything, and what happens instead is more real, honest, and specific to the needs and desires of these two characters. It demonstrates that polyamory is a large umbrella for covering many different heads...continued

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(Reviewed by Lisa Butts).

Media Reviews

Electric Literature
[July] altered my ideas of what kinds of stories were possible—something Sally Rooney and I have in common. In her second novel, July brings her singular brand of sardonic melancholia and wide-eyed wisdom to bear on this tale of a semi-famous middle-aged artist who decides to take a left turn from the left turn she had already planned.

Lit Hub
This is a gut-punch of a novel, a must-read for every woman nearing or over forty, confronting the malaise of midlife, fertility, marriage, and menopause, packaged in July's delirious style.

Oprah Daily
An irreverent and brilliantly touching story of a woman's quest for freedom.

Vogue
A frank and delirious ode to love in all its forms… just as brilliantly funny and strangely touching as you might expect.

Booklist (starred review)
A brilliant, sexy, funny, ludicrously entertaining primal scream of a coming-of-middle-age story… Beyond-dazzling, eyes-wide-open fiction.

Kirkus Reviews
Characteristically witty, startlingly intimate...This tender, strange treatise on getting out from the 'prefab structures' of a conventional life is quintessentially July.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Hilarious, sexy, and wonderfully weird... a revelation.

Author Blurb Emma Cline, New York Times bestselling author of The Guest
Profound and bawdy and deeply human, a brilliant work of art from a completely blown-open and fearless mind.

Author Blurb George Saunders, Booker-Prize winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo
A giddy, bold, mind-blowing tour de force by one of our most important literary writers.

Author Blurb Michael Cunningham, author of Day
I found myself reading All Fours in solitude, because as I read I'd started making sounds that were recognizably laughter but were also expulsions of heartbreak and what I'll call a cleansing sorrow.  If the United States had the good sense to name national treasures, I'd nominate Miranda July.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Miranda July: The Essential Works

Color photo of Miranda July, wearing denim shirt or jacket while standing and facing camera at an angle Miranda July is an artist who works successfully in multiple mediums, perhaps equally well-known for her films and her fiction. Born in 1974 in Barre, Vermont, and raised in Berkeley, California, July dropped out of college in her early twenties and moved to Portland, Oregon, where she began exploring performance art before becoming a filmmaker.

July's first full-length movie, Me and You and Everyone We Know, for which she both starred and directed, was released in 2004 and racked up some of the most significant independent film awards, including the Caméra d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. The movie is a romantic dramedy about a recently separated shoe salesman living with his ...

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