By Miranda July
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This collection of short stories perfectly showcases both Miranda July's wonderful whims and her incredibly expressive writing. Unconventional thoughts, anecdotes, reactions, fantasies often lay the foundation or provide the key subplot of her quirky tales. Whether they be teaching 80-year-olds swimming on the floor, dating an imaginary sister of a retired colleague or silenting communicating while acting as extras on a movie set, these strange scenarios, often accompanied by offbeat outbursts of emotions or reactions, often feel wildly ridiculous and yet impossibly sweet and real. It's like July managed to tap into the crevices of subconscious, uncover unconnected and hence shamed and hidden impulses, and confront us with all these funny, outrageous, inexplicably familiar ideas.
While there are certainly moments where she veers towards self-indulgence and the quirkiness threatens to run into the absurd, but her marvelous words, which seem to be constantly manoeuvering a delicate dance between the comical and the inconsolable, could almost always deliver an unexpected blow and change the tone of the story so drastically, it leaves you scratching your head, catching your breath, feeling devastated but also somehow relieved. It's a testament to her writing how within pages she can develop strong characters with a vivid voice and how from one sentence to the next she can turn laugh-out-loud humor to shattering sadness.
Behind the myriad of narrators and side characters in all these stories, one common thread is probably their sense of loneliness, insecurity and being out of place. Whether they are rebellion teen girls, loveless couples or retired old men, it's just wonderful to see a talented writer like July bring these hurt souls to life, tell them it's ok to think the crazy thoughts and ask the stupid questions, tell them there's atually a whole world of outsiders just like them, waiting and shouting to be heard.
Tony Su said on Jan 08, 2013, 22:46
Così, quando ho scoperto che esisteva una raccolta di racconti della stessa July Miranda che aveva scritto, diretto e interpretato il film, mi ci sono fiondata sopra. Con una certa delusione, poi. Perché il tema, diciamocelo, è sempre quello. Ma se nel film riusciva a essere leggero, ironico e a tratti poetico, nei racconti il senso di incomunicabilità e distacco prevale.
miss mixtape said on Jul 19, 2012, 15:52
Valeria said on Nov 11, 2011, 05:59
nobinobi said on Jul 08, 2011, 00:41
胡蕊蕊 said on Feb 15, 2011, 19:47
Miranda July's style is very evident, and shows throughout her film "Me And You And Everyone We Know" and very much here, in her short-story collection.
I feel as though I could easily have become irritated by her characters, where the main person often attains the same view as she, seemingly over and over again. In some way. On the other hand, try and find a truly versatile writer, in that sense. And there are a lot more positives than negatives while reading this, put it that way.
July does know how to write compellingly and in-depth, which I think is often hard when it comes to short-stories. These pieces vary in length, from two pages to something twentyish. The plots vary from story to story and often relate to basic human needs. Love, sex, money, work, friendship. Not in a corny, Oprah-would-love-this way, but rather in quirky ones, more emotive than intellectual. I can't really pigeon-hole this.
Quite short, I'll say this is recommendable for all.
Niklas Pivic said on Dec 30, 2010, 21:43
No one belongs here more than you. - Miranda July
Quirky and unique, so often in literature corresponds to 'without substance'. Not so in the case of Miranda July, and certainly not so in this short story collection. I would not have known of this book except that i had seen You, me, and everyone we know, a movie written, directed by (she is truly incredible with children performing), lead acted in, edited, and promoted by Miranda July. July's clear-eyed stare is carried over here to her fiction. Her characters have their simple, often quixotic everyday life becoming their reason for being and vice versa. The profound and the arbitrary simple existence become one. Her characters spring to lives of happiness and wellness and connection even when and sometimes in spite of challenge and misery and hardship. I really hope Ms. July plans a single longer work so that instead of short visits we can all stay a while with her people.
Another good modern short story collection is Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by Z.Z. Packer. These stories like July's are fresh, each standing out and grabbing your attention, but often much darker, with people leading themselves astray by there own narrowness of vision. This book also shares similarity to July's with it's range and change of pace.
And still another good collection is Tumble Home by Amy Hempel. I found this collection quite striking, and yet as my recollection has it falling somewhat into the correspondence with quirky i mentioned above. Certainly to be recommended, Hempel is known for her style and has a strong following.
Interesting how these three female short story authors came to my mind together. I've thought and can only think of one man, who has written a modern collection similar. But i'll save him for another time.
By the way it's true => No one belongs here more than you.
Jukka Keller said on Oct 23, 2010, 21:29
Delle tante risate promesse dalla critica, io me ne sono fatte davvero poche. Quel che prevale mi è parso un clima di tristezza diffusa, di morbida malinconia. 16 storie che sono come giornate di cielo grigio e fastidiosa pioggerellina, quando non hai per niente la forza di tirarti fuori dal letto e tutto quello che vuoi è infilare la testa sotto il cuscino e far finta che nient'altro esista. Sono storie di blocchi interiori, di stanche autoillusioni, di esistenze ripiegate su se stesse che proprio non ce la fanno più ad aprirsi alla vita.
Quel che irrita è una certa volontà di essere a tutti i costi originali, di imprimere alla scrittura una freschezza forzata che spesso risulta stanca, stanchissima, e farraginosa. Alcuni racconti scivolano via come se fossero poco più che abbozzi, pochi danno il senso di essere davvero riusciti a penetrare la scorza opaca di un momento particolare dell'esistenza. Fra tutti, The Swim Team mi pare il più compiuto - questo sì, in perfetto equilibrio tra l'assurdo e il credibile, originale e dolente senza inutili forzature.
Drownsoda2 said on Mar 17, 2010, 12:35
Emmalights said on Dec 22, 2009, 07:47
SE小+ said on Oct 28, 2009, 00:22