All Fours

All Fours

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Gabi's Review

Miranda July, writer, filmmaker and scriptwriter, is famous for polarising readers: they either love or hate her work.  This is probably because of the confronting material and comically absurd situations in which she embeds her social conundrums. Her new novel All Fours is no exception: sexually explicit, sometimes startlingly so, it’s also an incredibly funny and poignant story of a woman coming to terms with the unsexy subject of menopause. 

The scene is LA, where a semi-famous artist aged 45 is living less than her best life. While her husband appears to be a wonderful man, she also finds him an emotional ‘black hole’. Her chance for escape arrives with the windfall of a twenty-thousand-dollar royalty cheque, which she is encouraged to spend on a self-indulgent trip: driving across the country to New York, staying in luxury hotels, visiting friends and attending art exhibitions.

What follows is a hilarious but beautifully nuanced hormonal last-gasp, when she becomes besotted with the handsome young Hertz car rental attendant just 20 kilometres from her home. She checks into a motel opposite Hertz to pursue the significant looks the attendant gave her. She spends her money on a lavish redecoration of the motel room (this is July at her classic absurd); what transpires is a frank exploration of a search for intimacy and authenticity of self.

Miranda July has achieved an original transcendental examination of love within this novel, finding it to be genderless, and at its best, achieved through authenticity. While the awkward sexual encounters might offend some readers, All Fours is a tremendously brave and revelatory examination of the mental challenges faced by ageing women when they no longer find themselves the object of sexual desire. Four years later when she finally makes it to New York she is a woman who is at peace with herself and the world. This book is beyond extraordinary, my best so far for 2024.


Publishers Reviews

The New York Times bestselling author of The First Bad Man returns with an irreverently sexy, tender, hilarious and literary novel about a woman upending her life.

All Fours possessed me. I picked it up and neglected my life until the last page, and then I started begging every woman I know to read it as soon as possible. The Cut