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Vulture on Miranda July’s Latest

Miranda July’s New Novel Will Ignite Your Group Chats

By Christine Smallwood

There is something vague and unseeing in the gaze young women cast at older ones. Those figures paddling across the slough of middle age, headed toward the glowing shores of the golden years — the ones no longer desirable but, inconveniently, not yet dead — are out there, on the horizon, but they’re a little … fuzzy. In Miranda July’s 2006 short story “Something That Needs Nothing,” an older woman hires two artsy younger women for sex. They’re 19 or 20, but the woman’s “age was hard to determine from our vantage point, a point in our lives when we could not bring older bodies into focus.” “Young people especially had trouble making distinctions between ages over 40,” thinks the unnamed narrator of July’s new novel, the gutsy, funny, wise, chaotic, dirty, panic-inducing All Fours. When that narrator can bring herself to look at women a couple decades deeper into the muck, something worse than uncertainty gets stirred up — it’s outright loathing. “Sometimes my hatred of older women almost knocked me over, it came on so abruptly,” she admits. “These ‘free spirits’ who thought they could just invent the value of things.”

In a good romantic comedy, hate is only the prelude to love. All Fours tracks the narrator’s romantic and sexual obsessions, though the object of hate and love is herself, as she reckons with her aging body and mortality. She has just turned 45. If a life is something you throw into the air, she thinks, she’s reached the top; now all that remains is the fall. See the full review at Vulture.

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