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Miranda July’s No One Belongs Here More Than You

by Seb Chan on May 15th, 2007

Two weeks ago to the day I was in New York departing to come home.

New York is a great large city. It has a wonderfully diverse population, crazy characters, and a fine balance between high density living and urban amenity. Central Park offers an oasis away from the urban jungle, whilst public transport, is cheap and fantastic. The larger cities become the more I think you appreciate the difficulty in maintaining a sense of ‘live-ability’ – how to ensure populations get on with each other but reflect exponentially growing global networks and flows of immigrants, ideas and cultures; and manage the diverse infrastructure needs of these people.

In amongst a stack of work engagements I tracked down a second hand pre-release ‘review copy’ of Miranda July’s No One Belongs Here More Than You at Strand Books, this enormous second hand bookstore in the middle of midtown Manhattan. I was so excited to get a copy. Well that, a stack of Cabinet back issues in an art store in Dumbo, and the Circle album Miljard at Other Music.

Over the last fortnight I’ve been dipping in and out of the book – a collection of short stories. It is wonderful. July’s stories are surreal vignettes of everyday life, tinged with a sadness and self-concious sense of self. Much like her feature film Me and You and Everyone We Know there is a great attention to little everyday details – smells, sounds, thoughts, emotions. Details. Details that nervous and shy people (the characters that July is interested in) obsess about. The first thing that struck me about the stories was the lack of quotation marks. Characters don’t ‘say’ anything in quotes – every interaction, every story is, itself conversational. Character’s thoughts and spoken words blend into one.

I haven’t read fiction for quite a while. I don’t get the time to really. But this is a fantastic and compelling quirky read.

The promotional website – http://noonebelongsheremorethanyou.com/ – is a lovely touch too.

From → Words

2 Comments
  1. oh Seb. I’m finding myself so extremely jealous of your new purchase. How I adore Miranda July. What a cute kitten she is. I have now finished my Dave Eggers shorts and was about to go on to something a little less fiction but alas, this could just be my next read. Once I get my mits on it. Anyway I can. Most probably via amazon. That just isn’t a seedy enough way is it? Wouldn’t it be more exiciting if I danced for a distributor? Or cat burgled my way in to your bookshelf in the guise of a clown? Oh well. I’m a practical girl. So be it (pulls out credit card).

  2. miranda, miranda, miranda.
    my favourite line from You Me… “Lie on the ground and go peep!”
    i love the soundtrack too and plan to explore more of Michael Andrew’s work.

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