All Fours

Miranda July

All Fours
Canongate Books
United Kingdom
16 May 2024

All Fours

Miranda July

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, beds down in a nondescript motel and immerses herself in a temporary reinvention that turns out to be the start of 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 45-year-old female artist, All Fours transcends expectations 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.


There are many people out there who don’t need a review to tell them that their next essential book to read is anything Miranda July writes, whenever that happens to be released. To you fellow devotees, I say that All Fours is here, and it is everything you want and a whole lot you didn’t know you needed but will soon find you can’t do without. That’s all you require from me today, so read no further: you’ll love this.

I turn my attention now to those who don’t know Miranda July and/or don’t know whether they should be reading this book. July is a multi-talented artist, performer, and writer, and it seems wrong to compare what she does to anyone else, so I won’t try, but her unique perspective attracts a cult-like following (see above!). In All Fours, her second novel, July looks to the life stage usually referred to as ‘midlife’, that is to say the phase where one might realise that there is more time receding in the rear-view mirror and less of it stretching out on the road ahead. For July and her generation, that reckoning is in full swing, and for women particularly, this ‘crisis’ is often accompanied by a new chapter in hormonal living which intersects unkindly with increasing domestic and career responsibilities. And so it is for the 45-year-old narrator of All Fours, who finds herself querying internally much about her life experiences so far, and her family and professional situations. With the support of her partner and child and an unexpected windfall of cash, she takes a life break and sets out on a road trip which becomes something more like an absurdist exercise in self-discovery. This book is funny and crazy, full of sex and desire and interior design, and contains so many brilliant one-liners, blistering observational passages and surprising plot twists, it’s thrilling.

July teaches us the endless possibilities of how to be, reminding anyone who needs to know that the road ahead can go in any direction, no matter where the journey originated, or how far along it you are. She’s done this thinking for us in the form of a book that no one else could write. All Fours is not for the faint heart or the closed mind, but thank goodness because July is shaking up the status quo of reading, writing and living in ways that we desperately need.

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