I first met Miranda July years ago at a faraway literary conference in Portland, Oregon. Along with Rick Moody and others we were on a panel that was supposed to converse authoritatively about narrative structure. When it came time for July to speak, she stood up and started singing. She was large-eyed and lithe. I don’t remember what song it was—something she had written herself, I believe. I was startled. Who was this woman? (Her performances and short films had not appeared widely enough to have caught my notice.) I was then mortified, not for her, since she seemed completely at ease and the audience was enthralled, but mortified for narrative structure, which had clearly been given the bum’s rush. (Well, fiction writers will do anything to avoid this topic: it is the one about which they are the most clueless and worried and improvisational.)
—Lorrie Moore, writing in the New York Review of Books about July’s debut novel The First Bad Man.
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