Miranda July is already such a hyper-accomplished polymath — filmmaker, actor, short story writer and visual, recording and performance artist — that the addition of “novelist” to her ever-ballooning résumé will send those immune to her charms and talents into fits of apoplexy.
Like Lena Dunham, who provides an effusive blurb to “The First Bad Man,” July inspires highly charged reactions, both pro and con, and detractors loudly insist that she’s undeserving of her many laurels and career opportunities.
Among July’s putative offenses is her preciousness. Flinty cynics inevitably cite the voice-over by injured cat Paw-Paw in her film “The Future” — mewlingly delivered by July — as evidence of her supposed tendency to affected whimsy. Such a charge, of course, ignores the narration’s — and her work’s — other qualities: its self-aware humor, otherworldly strangeness and genuine heartbreak.
Well, “The First Bad Man” is certainly odd but it’s anything