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All Fours

...acerbically clever, radically compassionate ... July’s characteristic dry observational style can turn with equal ease to insouciant aphorism or to the lyrical eloquence with which she writes the extravagant, ungendering, transfiguring sex that takes the narrator to extremes of her own inwardness while forcing new kinds of contact and honesty, including with Harris ... By tangling explicitly with reality across mediums she pushes autofiction to new limits, revealing how good this genre is at questioning reality. How can the narrator make her own peculiarities part of a lived life? How can she get real in the face of death if what remains most real is art?
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One of the pleasures of All Fours is surprise ... Another is July’s ability to take familiar, everyday experiences and return them strange and new and precisely voiced ... The specificity of observations about the body is staggering. The novel excavates every sensation, every intriguing fold of flesh ... July’s novel is hot and weird and captivating and one of the most entertaining, deranged, and moving depictions of lust and romantic mania I’ve ever read ... In the end, however, it exudes the off-putting assurance of a convert and steers into the lane of self-help. As the narrator’s marriage evolves, the book falls apart. Her despair and obsession — the stuff of great literature — gets diffused into open and honest conversation, scheduling, and lessons learned. Everyone is very mature. This modern solution to the marriage problem may be a good thing in real life, but it just can’t pack the classic novelistic wallop of love and death.
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[A] witty, probing romp of a novel ... Animated by July's winning voice and what-could-happen-that-would-be-weirder plot instinct ... Rife with unexpected seduction, inventive sex and sex-adjacent acts that are somehow racier. The frankness with which the narrator delves into perimenopause and menopause is a revelation. July's work has frequently been described as whimsical or twee, but those adjectives can't convey the molten core of this book, which is at once hilarious and dead serious.

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