I've recently finished reading Miranda July's new book, 'No One Belongs Here More Than You.' If you aren't familiar with July she's a performance artist/filmmaker/author (who I wish I could hate, but love so much). She is one of the rare artists who tries to wear many hats simultaneously. Though, unlike artists such as Nick Cave or Kevin Bacon, she is continously successful at everything. 'No One Belongs Here More Than You' is not an exception.
For July fans:
Her book floats. It's in another world. Not in the way that Judy Budnitz's 'Flying Leap' is only marginally grounded in reality (though not to its disadvantage) 'No One Belongs...' creates its own reality. If you try to place a finger on what its 'otherness' exactly is you won't find it. It is real, very grounded, but very distant. For any July fan the book is an instant lover that demands to be reread, it's her typical, overly-poignant, non-sequitor-esque, dialogue. The stories wear bright colors (like the two pink or yellow covers available for the book) they leap in your face and sit in your mouth.
For everyone else:
For anyone who wouldn't consider themselves a fan of her work its an intriguing experience. It is a solid debut collection. Not perfect, solid. Stories like 'The Shared Patio,' and 'The Swim Team' are some of the best short story writing I've seen from any author in the last few years. The tone she has refined (or maybe the tone she was born with, the tone that George Saunders has coined as July-esque) is omnipresent. It leaves you wondering if she is relentlessly, hopelessly optimistic in the face of the horrors of the every-day, or if the characters in her stories are so riddled with pain that they have adopted this tone, refusing to accept that the world is as bleak as it appears.
Read this book. If you have ever been intrigued by Judy Budnitz, Don DeLillo, Nick Flynn, Dave Eggers or need a good view of a harsh world through eyes that only see beauty you need this book.
She has also created the greatest website a book has ever recieved book site
for more info on her go to Mirandajuly.com or learningtoloveyoumore.com