Books

All Fours by Miranda July review – a shockingly original voice and a story for our times

This book is brutally frank in a way that very few novels are as it documents a life unravelling

All Fours by Miranda July

All Fours by Miranda July is out now (Canongate, £20)

In All Fours, Miranda July also draws on real-life experience for her tale of a semi-famous artist having a kind of midlife crisis in her forties and realising she can give herself permission to live differently.

The unnamed wife-and-mother narrator sets off from LA to New York, but only gets as far as a nearby suburb where she becomes besotted with Davey, a local young man. She holes up in a nearby motel and spends thousands of dollars renovating it to get close to him, all the while pretending to still be on the road to her family, only half an hour away.

This leads to an unravelling of all aspects of her life, including her art and her marriage, with a lot of experimental sex and previously forbidden desire. July has recently gone through upheavals in her own life, and there is a glorious, confused, freeing energy to All Fours, perhaps as a result of her honesty on the page. This book is brutally frank in a way that very few novels are, and the result is a shockingly original voice and a story for our times.

Doug Johnstone is an author and journalist.

All Fours by Miranda July is out now (Canongate, £20). You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

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