Nobody Belongs Here More Than You
Nobody Belongs Here More Than You is Miranda July's 2007 short story collection. While July has made a name for herself as a screenwriter, actress, director, artists, her short story collection provides a very narrow scope into her style. Here she uses short stories to craft quirky women, and the occasional man, and takes every chance to throw them in equally off beat situations.
July's stories felt like ill timed Portlandia skits. Her characters, who all spoke with the same voice regardless of gender, circumstance, or even narrative perspective, and that made the transition between stories seem almost meaningless. This brings me to my major problem with July's story collection. With very few exceptions July's stories start and stop at random. They feel more like ideas she's started to expand on but hasn't quite finished. There is rarely a satisfying ending and this combined with the stagnant, odd for the sake of being odd characters lets most stories fall flat.
That's not to say I disliked everything I read. Of the sixteen stories in Nobody Belongs Here More Than You I have gone back and read three a second time. The Man on the Stairs, Mon Plaisir and How to Tell Stories to Children all grabbed my attention and reminded me what I truly love about short stories - which is that they can be as powerful as a novel and contained in under 20 pages!
I'm still a Miranda July fan, I'll just stick with her films (Me and You and Everyone We Know is on Netflix!) and various other forays into the arts. I don't think I'll need to read her prose for a while.