Imagine aliens. Imagine supernatural creatures. Now, imagine that those things are your neighbors, behind the placid faces of housewives and the lady who works behind the desk at the local dentist’s office, and you have a basic idea of Miranda July’s eccentric novel. Like she does in her other works, July plays with interpersonal relationships in an extreme way; sex is like vanilla yogurt and violence is like a commercial break. Everything plays out in an almost hyperrealist way, with everything totally ludicrous but also plausible at the same time. The main character accidentally buys a hundred snails and they end up all over her apartment. And that’s a tame plot point. Miranda July has managed to infuse the banality of suburbia with madness, the kind of madness that lies quietly in all of us, the kind that only shows if we’re only brave enough to admit that it’s there. The First Bad Man is a contemporary novel that’s definitely worth the read.