The creator and star of Me and You and Everyone We Know presents a collection of short works featuring profoundly sympathetic protagonists whose inherent sensitivities render them particularly vulnerable to unexpected events. 50,000 first printing.
Miranda July (born February 15, 1974) is a performance artist, musician, writer, actress and film director. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, after having lived for many years in Portland, Oregon. Born Miranda Jennifer Grossinger, she works under the surname of "July," which can be traced to a character from a "girlzine" Miranda created with a high school friend called "Snarla."
Miranda July was born in Barre, Vermont, the daughter of Lindy Hough and Richard Grossinger. Her parents, who taught at Goddard College at the time, are both writers. In 1974 they founded North Atlantic Books, a publisher of alternative health, martial arts, and spiritual titles. Miranda was encouraged to work on her short fiction by author and friend of a friend, Rick Moody.
Miranda grew up in Berkeley, California, where she first began writing plays and staging them at the all-ages club 924 Gilman. She later attended UC Santa Cruz, dropping out in her sophomore year. After leaving college, she moved to Portland, Oregon and took up performance art. Her performances were successful; she has been quoted as saying she has not worked a day job since she was 23 years old.
Filmmaker Magazine rated her number one in their "25 New Faces of Indie Film" in 2004. After winning a slot in a Sundance workshop, she developed her first feature-length film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, which opened in 2005. The film won The Caméra d'Or prize in The Cannes Festival 2005.
Beginning in 1996, while residing in Portland, July began a project called Joanie4Jackie (originally called "Big Miss Moviola") which solicited short films by women, which she compiled onto video cassettes, using the theme of a chain letter. She then sent the cassette to the participants, and to subscribers to the series, and offered them for sale to others interested. In addition to the chain letter series, July began a second series called the Co-Star Series, in which she invited friends from larger cities to select a group of films outside of the chain letter submissions. The curators included Miranda July, Rita Gonzalez, and Astria Suparak. The Joanie4Jackie series also screened at film festivals and DIY movie events. So far, thirteen editions have been released, the latest in 2002.
At her speaking engagement at the Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco's Mission District on May 16, 2007, July mentioned that she is currently working on a new film.
She recorded her first EP for Kill Rock Stars in 1996, entitled Margie Ruskie Stops Time, with music by The Need. After that, she released two more full-length LPs, 10 Million Hours A Mile in 1997 and Binet-Simon Test in 1998, both released on Kill Rock Stars. In 1999 she made a split EP with IQU, released on K Records.
Miranda co-wrote the Wayne Wang feaure length film "The Center of the World."
In 1998, July made her first full-length multimedia performance piece, Love Diamond, in collaboration with composer Zac Love and with help from artist Jamie Isenstein; she called it a "live movie." She performed it at venues around the country, including the New York Video Festival, The Kitchen, and Yo-yo a Go-go in Olympia. She created her next major full-length performance piece, The Swan Tool, in 2000, also in collaboration with Love, with digital production work by Mitsu Hadeishi. She performed this piece in venues around the world, including the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
In 2006, after completing her first feature film, she went on to create another multimedia piece, Things We Don’t Understand and Definitely are Not Going To Talk About, which she performed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
Her short story The Boy from Lam Kien was published in 2005 by Cloverfield Press, as a special-edition book.
I bought this book cause I was walking through a bookstore with a friend of mine... a friend I adore more than newborn puppies and tiny rabbits hopping in fields of grass, and she said, "MIRANDA JULY! I love her. She made the movie You, Me, and Everyone We Know." I hadn't seen the movie, but I remember seeing an ad in the paper and thinking, "I want to see that movie." And it was because of that, and because I adore this girl more than newborn puppies, and rabbits hopping in fields of grass, and moonlit nights, and sundrenched mornings, that I bought two copies of the book (one for her, and one for me. One could say "Jeff: Nice boy." One has said, "Jeff: Helpless romanitc sucker." I loath both definitions.
A book of short stories. Most are delicate. Like something you'd find in your grandmother's junk drawer. Not the one in her kitchen. The one that's the top drawer of her dresser. The one that's filled with pearl buttons, and half knitted doilies, and old black and white photos with a younger version of your grandmother, and complete strangers. You wonder who those people were? What kind of double life did your grandmother lead? Are these people still alive? Does she keep in contact with them? It's a whole world of possibility. You start to see your grandmother in a wholey different light. She's no longer this older woman who is constantly trying to feed or, or berating you for not wearing shoes or not having a job befitting of a college graduate. She's a real person now, with half knitted doilies, and pictures of random people. Old patches that look as if they were ripped off a G.I. uniform. It would break your heart if you asked, and your Grandmother said, "Oh, look at that. You found that in my drawer? No, I have no idea what that is." So you just let your imagination run wild.
Some stories fall flat. Like opening your grandmother's junk drawer and finding nail clippers. But at least they're sharp nail clippers... not the kind that break your nails when you try to use them. And sometimes, that's enough to get you through the day.
No One Belongs Here More Than You. Short Stories, Miranda July
Miranda July reveals how a single moment can change everything. Whether writing about a middle-aged woman's obsession with Prince William or an aging bachelor who has never been in love. One of the most acclaimed and successful short story collections, No One Belongs Here More Than You confirms Miranda July as a spectacularly original, iconic and important voice today.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز شانزدهم ماه آوریل سال2012میلادی
عنوان: هیچکس مثل تو مال اینجا نیست؛ نویسنده: میراندا جولای (جولی)؛ مترجم: فرزانه سالمی؛ تهران، نشر چشمه، سال1388، در87ص؛ چاپ دوم سال1389؛ چاپ سوم 1390؛ چاپ چهارم سال1394؛ در87ص؛ شابک9789643626167؛ موضوع داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده ی21م
مجموعه هفت داستان کوتاه: «تیم شنا»، «پسر لم کین»؛ «پاسیو مشترک»؛ «مرد روی پله ها»؛ «این آدم»؛ «دلخوشی من»؛ و «ماه گرفتگی»؛
کتاب «هیچکس مثل تو مال اینجا نیست» اثری از خانم «میراندا جولای» نویسنده ی «آمریکایی» است، که با برگردان خانم «فرزانه سالمی» در نشر چشمه منتشر شده است؛ داستانهای خانم «میراندا جولای» کار ویژه ای انجام میدهند: «خوانشگر را غافلگیر میکنند»؛ سپس بسیار آرام از واقعیات روزمره ی زندگی فراتر میروند.؛
درباره ی نویسنده: «میراندا جولای» متولد سال1974میلادی در «آمریکا» هستند؛
ایشان میگویند: «به هرچه دست بزنند، طلا میشود»؛
بیراه هم نمیگویند؛ چون ایشان هم آلبومهای موسیقی پیروزمندی داشته اند، هم فیلم پرفروشی ساخته، و هم داستانهای کوتاه بسیار خوبی نگاشته اند؛ آفرینشگری هستند که شاید کمی رنگ و بوی کودکانه داشته باشند؛ اما انگار استعداد غریبی دارند، در اینکه میتوانند واقعیت را از جزئیات «سوررئال» زندگی روزمره، بیرون بکشند، و تنهایی آدمها را، به عجیبترین شکل ممکن نشان بدهند؛
تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/01/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 03/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
july’s style is very reminiscent of emma cline/ottessa moshfegh (or maybe the other way around as she published first lol) which i inherently enjoy. however, the stories in this collection felt aimless and failed to leave any kind of impact on me.
This was so not what I was expecting. No One Belongs Here More Than You has got to be one of the worst books I've read in years. I can't even recall the last time I was this appalled by a short story collection.
I started off my reading experience thinking this would follow the usual way of having no real structure to the stories but still including great quotes to ponder. And at first, that's exactly what was being delivered to me with pieces of writing such as: “They seem easy to write, but that’s the illusion of all good advice.”
And this line from the story Majesty that's all about dreams: “That day I carried the dream around like a full glass of water, moving gracefully so I would not lose any of it. ”
But then the story collection decides to take a turn for the worst by having stories written about incest (“I Kiss a Door”) and pedophilia (“The Boy from Lam Kien”) in such a tone as if they're perfectly normal and acceptable everyday things.
“It is as if she came up from hell to make this one thing, a record, and then she went back. But who am I to say. Maybe it wasn’t hell. Maybe she really wanted to go back.”
I felt physically sick, so much so that I had to open up a window in the middle of the freezing night. And I still can't shake off my disgust. Needless to say, I didn't even bother to complete the rest of the stories because I don't despise morality.
* I usually note at the end of my reviews that I'm an Amazon Affiliate, and if you're interested in buying the book I reviewed you can go through my link so that I'll make a small commission. But instead, I'll now implore you to browse through literally any other book on Amazon because No One Belongs Here More Than You is not worth your time or money.
This is the first and last time I will ever write these words: Man, I really want to read a Nicholas Sparks novel right now.
It doesn't have to be one of his, specifically, but he is the go-to guy for cliched and typical romances between Normal Attractive White People. And that's what this book makes me want to read. Something where all the characters are well-adjusted adults without any weird fetishes or deep-seated psychological issues, and a nice couple gets together and, after some formulaic tension and strife, gets married and has normal happy sex, the end. In short, I need to read something that will convince me that not everyone is as fucked-up and depressing as the characters presented in Miranda July's short story collection, alternately titled, Worship Me, You Hipster Idiots, For I Am Your God.
I don't want to give the impression that the writing is bad. Most of it is actually very, very good. But I would caution people not to read this all in one go - the ideal way to read this book is to stretch it out over a few months, reading a couple of stories at a time while you spend the majority of your reading time on other books. Because if you read more than three stories in a row, you start to get this very odd sensation that you will be alone and unhappy for the rest of your life, and it is not pleasant. Almost every story centers on a woman, aged mid-twenties to mid-forties, with quirks that are less "manic pixie dream girl" and more "years of therapy strongly recommended." She usually has some weird sex story to tell us (one story, where a woman in her forties recounts her sexual fantasies about Prince William, haunts me still), and she is alone and unhappy, and is guaranteed to stay that way for the rest of her life. If that's not depressing enough, the sex scenes will probably make you want to shoot yourself, because what is the point of living if sex like this exists in the real world:
"That night he wanted to nurse, so I lifted up my nightgown. I don't have to do anything, my boob is just there, he sucks on it. This always makes me feel sad and thirsty. But they are reversed; the thirst has a depth and tone that sadness should have; thirst as an ache, a howl, a sob. And sadness is pathetically limited to the range of thirst, it is just a sip of emotion, tightly buckled to a frown, quenchable. These feelings probably resolve themselves logically when there is milk in the boob. I could feel Carl's erection against my knee, but I waited it out, and after a while, it went away. He detached himself from the nipple, and we lay there in the half-darkness I have come to think of as our own."
Yep, time to go watch The Notebook and pray that I don't die alone and miserable. Thanks, Ms. July, this has been really fun.
(I'm just kidding, I'm not going to watch The Notebook. Christ, have you met me? That movie sucks.)
Note: If I could fashion a little half-star and put it in the rating, I would give this book at 3.5.
Miranda July: she's the lightning-rod hipster conversation of the year. I say her name at dinners and people rise from their chairs to damn or bless her. They pace and sweat and expound upon why she is the worst/best thing to happen to fiction in eons. They yell: "She's the next Lorrie Moore!" or "She's like those people who try to imitate Lorrie Moore and miss what's really good about her!" Sometimes they've actually read one of her stories or seen her movie, but sometimes they just resent her fame or adore her blog. In the bookstore, the yellow or pink jacketed hardcover book of short stories (yes, I said hardcover) beams from the bookshelf. It says, "I have no cover design. I need no cover design. And yes, my author photo went shopping at Anthropologie, then shunned all human contact (or staged this elaborate ruse)." I bought the yellow book. I was simultaneously suspicious and curious. And I STILL AM, despite having finished it. Here's the thing: Miranda July is an immensely talented writer. I want to make out with her imagination. Some of the stories ("Something That Needs Nothing," "Birthmark," "Mon Plaisir") in this collection are fabulously weird and lovely and offbeat -- and they take you to surprising emotional places. Others, however, feel a bit overwritten and unfinished. I admire her authority, but sometimes it comes across as vanity, and I get squirmy when I think an author relishes her own prose or ideas too much (takes one to know one). The things that leave me cold in July's work are the very things I worry about in my own, so this is a very personal critique. Lately, when magazines turn down my fiction, they praise my prose and voice and characters -- but they don't buy the endings or feel there is enough closure, etc., etc., so I want to know how she can fool them all and I can't? The truth is, I *loved* some of these stories. The last in the book -- "How to Tell Stories to Children" -- I would even give five stars to. But I feel let down by selections like "Making Love in 2003" and "The Boy from Lam Kien," which read like a bunch of "good line - no home" fragments pieced together. And stories like "The Shared Patio" and "The Swim Team" (the latter of which people go all kinds of crazy for) feel unsatisfyingly incomplete -- they set something up but don't go places with it. Nothing shifts. Saying this makes me feel conventional, but when I read, I want to feel *something* or be supremely aware of its absence. In these stories, July swears it's there, but it's not always. Also, I'm tiring of madwomen -- in her fiction, in my fiction, in everyone's fiction. OK, fine, I love them, but I also wonder what we're not dealing with or what kind of shortcut this is or if we think only nutjobs speak-think magical prose. "Ten True Things" and "Something That Needs Nothing" reminded me so much of my own stories (thematically and prose-ishly) that it was almost hard to read them. I felt like she was showing me everything that's glorious and horrible in my own work...everything was magnified. [Apologies to anyone who has read this far for all presumptuous, conceited, self-centered, self-analytical, self-serving comparisons above. I seek unprofessional help from anyone who wants to comment.:]
I hate to say this, but I really did not enjoy the experience of reading past the first two stories or so. After a while I just couldn't figure out the appeal of a book that is packed cover to cover with disingenuous, childlike, wide-eyed, self-destructive women who are really just ciphers that things happen to... Okay, I take that back, of course that’s appealing to people, have I never watched porn or "Charmed"? But all the narrators would say things like, “After my boyfriend was incredibly mean to me, I lay there and decided to become a dog robot. My life will improve once I am a dog robot. I wonder whether they make steel bones for dog robots.” Funny the first time, because you know no one ever actually “decides” or “thinks” that and it's just an amusing function of the authorial voice, but incredibly grating the forty-seven-thousandth time because by then you realize you're on page 200 and no one in this book has “decided” or “thought” anything at all. And in that way, no one in the book is anything like a real person: Instead, the characters here are all a bundle of quirks and damages that we’re supposed to find adorable and funny. (The author photo, in which July seems to be trying to make herself look like a startled doll, maybe should have tipped me off...)
I swear to Christ if I read one more slim selfsatisfied volume of "witty" short fiction where everybody talks like a fucking Grad Student I'm going to hit myself in the brain with a ballpeen hammer until I'm illiterate.
Today there was a fire at London Zoo. The BBC newsreader solemnly informed us that one person was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and several more staff members were treated on site. Then she said “An aardvark is presumed dead and five meerkats are currently unaccounted for”. Miranda July would have loved the strange, poignant appearance of an aardvark in the hourly BBC news reports; it was at the same time very funny and intensely sad. Which is what Miranda July is all about in her lovely film and weird but splendid novel.
So I can enthusiastically recommend her film Me and You and Everyone we Know, and also her novel The First Bad Man. But not these short stories. They’re just too short, and also too arch, which the dictionary defines as marked by a deliberate and often forced playfulness, irony, or impudence .
And yes, Miranda July might be accused of impudence in thinking these slight wisps are worth some of our hard-earned conscious moments but it’s the forced playfulness which got on my nerves.
The BBC said the aardvark’s name was Misha. The zoo will not be releasing the names of the missing meerkats until relatives have been informed.
If you look in the dictionary under the word "quirky", you will find the definition of that word; also, Miranda July.
A few years ago I read The First Bad Man, which both delighted and totally weirded me out. But I guess I wasn't weirded out so much as to turn me off the idea of reading her short story collection.
It think it's because I loved her short story, Roy Spivey*. It convinced me that she's probably better at the short form. So I had high hopes for this collection. But though this group of stories beguiles at times with humour, and touches occasionally with a sensitive hand, they're all the same, a variation on a theme. This whole book is really a melting pot of one big story. One big, quirky story with varying characters, but essentially the exact same voice: the awkward, socially immature, lonely-as-hell voice. Also essential to the Miranda July recipe for prose: a very inappropriate, sexually 'shocking' element and/or really depressingly bad sex, a rather directionless plot that often includes a therapy session, and a lacklustre, artsy-fartsy end.
I don't mean to be a jerk, so I should mention that there were some stories that work better than others. One that really touched me was a scene in which a couple who were movie extras, acted more intimately on set than they ever did in their real lives.
But this same theme kept rinsing and repeating. And I kept thinking, regardless of who was narrating, that it was Miranda July the whole time. She was just making each puppet-character open and close their mouths while she did the talking (and it would be just like her to turn her short stories into a puppet show - that's just the quirky kind of thing she'd do).
*You can listen to this on the New Yorker Fiction podcast - it's a gem - and it's read by David Sedaris.
This book was perplexingly good. The best adjective I can come up with for these stories is sharp. Not sharp like "clever" or whatever, but sharp like sharp, like a knife or thorns or something that actually cuts you. The stories all hurt, really, which is why I say perplexingly good. I mean, it's hard to say you like something that leaves you feeling like you just got a hole punched in you. Everyone is just so lonely, so unloved, so despairing.
Anyway though, I did like it. A lot. "Something That Needs Nothing" is easily the best story in the book, and it nearly made me howl. "How to Read Stories to Children" is fantastic as well.
Very nice, Miranda. I don't think I could handle being your friend, but I'll def read anything you write.
I was torn between wanting to punch her writing in the throat, and loving it to shreds. I've changed my rating a million times and probably forever will. It's hard to rate a book of short stories like this one, some of them were a straight out 1, others were a 5. Sometimes I feel July is pretentious, other times I get excited that I'm not the only person in the world that is so god damned weird. Her thought processes go in places that mine do. I was the kind of kid who failed school -not because I was stupid, but because I needed to focus, come back down to earth, stop daydreaming. I've never really let people read my writing because I've always been worried that people would worry about my state of sanity. Yet reading July's work and seeing her embrace her eccentricity was comforting. Honestly.
But at the same time, I do really want to punch her sometimes. Most of the time. There's something so berloody obnoxious about her and her writing and everything she is. Maybe that's why I hate myself so much too.
One of the worst collections I've ever finished. I bought this one in hardcover when it first came out and was excited to read it because it had great buzz and won the Frank O'Connor prize. Sadly, I struggled through every story. Perhaps I will enjoy this more on some future reread; and I'm even willing to concede that I might be tone-deaf to this author at this time, but I suspect she was given a free pass on her fiction because of her success as a filmmaker. The cover blurbs trumpet her originality; but after just rereading Amy Hempel's 1985 collection Reasons to Live (she provided one of the cover blurbs), that still seems more original than July's No One Belongs Here More Than You.
The strength of this collection is the narrative voice, which does have snap and a nice turn of phrase that might be unique. The down side of that voice is that it is monologic: a neurotic speed rap (meth or other psychotropic drug) that wears thin by the end of the first story and then repeats itself for another 180 pages. It seems to me that July, as author, has fallen in love with listening to that voice (herself?) talk.
What makes this a terrible collection to my sensibility is the lack of love for her characters and especially the narrators. I'm all for exposing human weaknesses and revealing character's dark sides, but the condescension July exhibits towards her characters in this collection just had me continuously wanting to stop reading. Some may claim that she's rendering irony as Saunders (another blurber on the book's cover) does; which is the current defense against any pejorative criticism. I don't buy that defense. Saunders' irony is obvious and part of his shtick. July's voice is trying too hard to be hip, but ends up tone deaf, and, being charitable, is inadvertently full of character assassinations.
Miranda July's radio pieces are excellent. She tells her off-beat and romantic or oddly sinister stories, dramatizes quirks as real characters and situations, and enchants you with her squeaky little voice. Nothing makes sense, but nothing *has* to make sense. You just have to listen and be carried away.
I thought her movie was pretty good too, although right on the edge of being twee and pretentious. You see, when you take a picture of something you give it weight. You're saying: this moment is important enough to be recorded exactly, in sight and sound, for posterity. And Miranda July's fancies just can't take very much weight. They're will o' the wisps, soap bubbles. Pretty but ephemeral.
Which is why this book was so totally unreadable for me. Fiction, even more than film, demands that its subject be sturdy. It is inexorably linear, permanent as acid-free paper, and stored in a physical object that must be enshrined in a way that film and radio, ultimately only memories of light and sound, are not. These little vignettes can't take it. They crumbled to pieces as I read them, and I felt like a toddler who tears a butterfly's wings off because he doesn't know that you don't play with beauty that way.
Go back to performance art, Ms. July. No matter how many hipsters are crushing hard on you and your cute little curls, you can't do everything. And it's sad for both of us when you try.
Missed Connection Author exorcises demons as characters search for love by Avishay Artsy
Everybody gets lonely sometimes, and Miranda July crams as many forms of loneliness she can think of in her first collection of stories.
The inhabitants of July’s imagination reach out to strangers in hopes of genuine connection. Unable to find it, they often use sex to simulate closeness. A teacher seduces a 14-year-old boy in her special-needs class, and no one notices because “nobody really cares about anyone but themselves anyway.” An old man dreams of bedding a teenage girl, only to result in his first gay encounter with a co-worker. A woman climaxes while listening over the phone to her sister catalog her nightly sexual conquests. Two women at a romance seminar hold each other and weep passionately, then break apart, embarrassed.
July has been toying with the concept of disaffection for over a decade. Her early spoken word/music collages were released on the Kill Rock Stars label. In 2005, she starred in her breakout indie feature film “Me and You and Everyone We Know” as herself, a young performance artist eager to break into the art establishment. Likewise, her stories are narrated in the first person, an acknowledgement of the inseparability of her creations from herself.
July is among the finest of a growing pool of younger writers looking to chronicle the nation’s ennui. But her characters seem mostly oblivious to the problems outside their windows. The occasional references to popular culture, such as a television show where “couples compete at remodeling their kitchens,” are dismissive, treating the outside world as grotesque and senseless.
Despite the bleakness of their lonely lives, the adults in the stories respond to their surroundings with child-like puzzlement and wonder. One woman teaches the elderly inhabitants of her small town to swim by having them crawl across her apartment floor, their faces submerged in bowls of water. Another witnesses a neighbor having a seizure, and rather than rush for help, lays her head on his shoulder and takes a nap. Then, when she is awoken and sent to retrieve his medicine, a photograph of a whale on the refrigerator door sends her into a reverie. The woman, an amateur advice columnist, suggests depressed readers share their sorrows with a telephone operator or postman.
If there’s a shortcoming here, it’s that the empathy the reader feels for the characters soon gives way to annoyance at their remorseless narcissism. They all seem like thinly-veiled sketches of the author, wondering what it means to really love. It seems trendy to complain that, with so many new gadgets and digital landscapes designed to improve communication, no one knows how to speak to each other anymore. But July’s characters don’t just want to talk, they want to belong. And in their search for connection, they somehow manage to scratch out a place of their own.
No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories by Miranda July (Scribner: 2007), 205 pages.
Reading this book is like being transported to 2007 and having someone hand you a chain wallet and Dickiesbefore plopping you into a room with golf course green carpeting and a single bean bag chair (leather, of course). Arcade Fire is playing in the background. Or maybe it's Freezepop? Grab a 4 Loko and some Asteroid Cheetos. You are a fucking hipster and this is your life.
Miranda July has been on my to-read list for ages because I loved her aesthetic and how reminiscent it is of aughts counterculture, and also because I love weird literature that lives on the fringe of academic and hip. But this felt too much like reading a Livejournal entry for my liking. If you're into that, maybe this will be for you.
I read Miranda July's novel The First Bad Man earlier this year because it was chosen as a group read by the 21st Century Literature group.
I actually bought this collection earlier, and in some ways I rather wish I had read it first, in that I found echoes of all the things that made me uncomfortable about that in some of these stories, and although I enjoyed some of them, the collection as a whole was not really to my taste.
I don't want to be too negative, as I feel I am just not the right kind of reader for this book. I realise that this short review has not really articulated what made me uneasy - Robin's review here explains it much better.
okay i rarely give up on books and when i do i rarely give them ratings. this is because i hate when people have only read like the first 100 pgs of like "gravity's rainbow" or "infinite jest" and because they have taken all of the 2 hours it takes to read that they think it qualifies them to then pass judgement on the whole book which took me a good forty hours to read, and that i loved. but lets face it, miranda july is no pynchon or dfw. that said i'm not here to bash the book of stories, i only got through three of them and that was enough for me. maybe it was the way the stories were read - i got the book on cd - or maybe it was the way every character was the same, or maybe it was the way it reminded me of "juno". i can't quite put my finger on it, but the stories irked me. not only that, they made me embarrased. there is a difference between something sucking because it is a james patterson novel and it sucking because it is trying to be serious and original, but it's comedic and derivative. and this was what i thought of the three stories i read by miranda july. i have seen her movie, and i enjoyed it enough, but that was like four or five years ago, before our culture was completely saturated with cutsey indie feel-goodness. and i guess, come to think of it, her movie was exactly like these stories except it was only an hour and a half. sorry for any of you out there that might love ms. july's stories and really relate to their character's quirkiness and sense of isolation, but after certain point you just have to say good riddance and move on.
و دوباره آن اتفاق افتاد.مرد یک لحظه فکر کرد لکهای به رنگ شراب پورت روی گونهی او میبیند.خیلی قرمزتر و بزرگتر از آن بود که فکر میکرد.حتی از خون هم خونیتر بود.خون کثیف.مثل همان خونی که به نظر نژادپرستها در رگ نژادهای دیگر جریان دارد: خونی که نمیتواند مثل خون من باشد.اما لحظهای بعد دوباره معلوم میشد فقط مربا بوده، و زن میخندید و حولهی آشپزخانه را روی گونهاش میکشید.گونهی تمیزاش.لکهی شرابیاش.
داستانهای این کتاب در مورد تمام شدن رابطههاست و تلاش برای "فراموشی". میراندا جولای تلاش زیادی کرده تا با نقب زدن به خیال؛این فراموشی رو به تصویر بکشه.گاهی اوقات این خیال بیش از حده. احتمالا برای این داستانها رو دوست داریم که حداقل کمی به زندگی واقعی نزدیک باشند.
نمیدونم تا چه حد زنهای این داستانها "عشق" رو فراموش کردن;اما فکر نکنم مخاطبان داستانها جز خیال و خیال و خیال واهی چیزی دیده باشند.
The Man on the Stairs is an extended snapshot in a woman's life, in which a familiar (July gives it a tired, worn out feeling, like the T-shirt the woman is wearing, doubtless ugly and shapeless, unloved, a stultifying comfort-zone) sequence of introspection culminates in an encounter that takes on a mythical (as a focus for culturally cultivated fears and a seed of exasperated, unheroic (profoundly female) courage) and symbolic (of the emotional subjugation of women) resonance. It ends with what I felt was a victory, but one so bitter and compromised that I cried aloud reading it, when the woman 'expel[s] the dust of everything' this subjugation has caused her to destroy in herself, and orders the phantom, the unintentional criminal 'out of my house'. She can only muster a whisper, but we have to start somewhere.
Rest of the book:
I cannot agree with reviewers who found July's stories 'laugh out loud funny'; I am actually kind of horrified by the thought of someone laughing at the plights of her painfully unhappy protagonists. July's language stutters and chokes as each internal monologue unfolds its ugly revelations, almost as if recoiling in disgust.
Loneliness, insecurity and ineptitude are the prominent features of adulthood here, and (healing or edifying or relief-giving) encounters that allow the narrators to offer care or fellowship to a child emphasise a contrast with their interactions with 'normal' people who treat them with varying degrees of disdain and disinterest. I don't think July invites laughter, rather that she is tenderly drawing out poison from a wound so deep it contaminates all of our interactions.
Attempts to seek refuge and refreshment in the joyous diversions (in the sense of randomness and original thinking, an escape from the stale frameworks of normalised communication) of innocence are limited and compromised, and the grains of hope they contain are sometimes dashed, but there is the shadow of a feeling, maybe even a furious whisper, that things don't have to be this way.
“Öfkeli misiniz? Bir yastığı yumruklayın? Tatmin edici miydi? Çok değil. Son zamanlarda insanlar yumruklanmanın yetmeyeceği kadar çok öfkeli. Bıçak saplamayı deneyebilirsiniz. Bir yastık alıp çimenlerin üstüne koyun. Büyük, sivri uçlu bir bıçakla bıçaklayın. Bir daha, bir daha. Öyle sert saplayın ki bıçağın ucu yere girsin. Yastık yok oluncaya kadar ve hala dönmeyi sürd��rdüğü için gezegeni öldürmek istercesine, her gün bu gezegende yalnız yaşamak zorunda bırakılışınızın öcünü almak istercesine durmadan, durmadan toprağı bıçaklayın.”
Öneri konusunda emin olamadığım ama benim okurken bayıldığım bir kitap “Hiç kimse buraya senin kadar ait değil”, farklı -hatta bazen garip noktasına ulaşan- ötekilerden oluşan karakterlerin bir o kadar değişik hatta absürt hayatlarının muazzam ince detaylarla işlenmiş bambaşka öyküleri. Hiç alakanız olmayan olaylarda kendinizden detaylar buluyorsunuz. Çok farklı, sarsıcı bir kitap. Ama seveni kadar sevmeyeni de bol. Karakterleri, konuları, kapağı, anlatımı, ismi; her şeyi ile çok farklı bir kitap. “Dizlerimi büktüm, yere çöktüm. İngilizce ağladım, Fransızca ağladım, tüm dillerde ağladım, çünkü gözyaşları dünyanın her yerinde aynıdır. Esperanto.”
My housemate recommended this with 'this is so sweet, it will restore your faith in humanity'. I am now reconsidering how much I like my housemate, and will never rely on her for a character reference.
I've read about half of the short stories in this book, and I don't want to read any more. Every short story is a first-person narrative from someone who is desperate, odd, lonely, delusional, and slightly creepy. From the person so in love with her neighbour that she leans her head on his shoulder and goes to sleep (having a lovely dream about how much he loves her) while he's having an epileptic fit - to the desperately needy protagonist of 'something that needs nothing' who runs away with her only friend while they fail to pay the rent and have an on-again-off-again relationship which the other party only half wants.
Don't get me wrong - at our most obsessive/unrequited everyone has probably had some element of these behaviours - but you need to be chemically imbalanced in the first full rush of it all to relate - and a whole book of them is just grueling.
Not a bad writing style - a bit dry for my tastes, but perfectly serviceable - but Oh God the content.
I came fully prepared to get way into this book, but so far I don't like the stories I've tried. I really loved her movie, and I remember liking her performance stuff back in Portland, during those so long-ago, simpler times. I'll try a few more of these, but so far I'm surprised by how draggy the ones I've tried seem to me -- not like fun drag-queen draggy, just a drag kind of draggy.... I was worried they'd be too whimsical, but actually the feeling I get while reading is sort of of the opposite -- bored and oppressed and kind of grossed out and tired but not in an interesting way.
I'll try some more, and hopefully come around to it!
It took me a minute to get into this, but I did wind up liking it. I think of July as primarily a performance artist, and this book is to performance art as a regular book of short stories is to a painting hanging on a gallery wall. That is, ordinarily short stories seem like these things writers create by using parts of themselves, yes, but then those stories are detached from the person of the author and from each other, they're each separate things. You can read most short stories without thinking about who wrote them, and usually if they're good they're distinct from the other short stories standing around them. But all of these stories were really just the same story, and they weren't even stories really, they were more mostly just Miranda July, or at least, she was such a tangible presence that it was as if she were there, like the stories really couldn't exist without her being there telling them, they were all stories about her. And sort of interdependent with each other. At first I didn't think I liked that, but then I decided I did.
Even though they're all basically the same story, some of them are better than others. My favorite was "Something That Needs Nothing," which I'm pretty sure didn't explicitly say it took place in Portland, but for me it was so obviously taking place in Portland, and it just seemed so real and good, and really about what it's like to be that age and dealing with people and the world in these super intense painful ways. It made a lot of sense to me. "I Kiss a Door" was pretty good. And I really loved "This Person," I think that was my second favorite. Also maybe "Majesty" and "The Man on the Stairs"? I don't think I was that crazy about most of the other ones, though I guess they had their moments.
At first I didn't like them because sometimes when stories are all kind of weird and unstructured like this they feel sloppy to me, like the person just sat down and wrote whatever came out of her. But then I decided that this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. They are kind of like these hallucinogenic speech bubbles that are coming out this lady who is there with you, practically in the room, and these are pieces of her. Obviously the author is always a presence in some way, I mean, you're usually aware at least on some level that someone wrote what you're reading, and you notice their personality or whatever to varying degrees. What I mean when I say this was like performance art was that it felt like she was literally there, while I was reading, though I mean obviously she wasn't. But by the logic of the stories, I guess she almost could have been. I don't know. I liked them. But if I'd decided I didn't like Miranda July, I wouldn't have, so if you don't wind up liking her reading these will be awful.
A quirky, lovely quick read- definitely recommended.*
July is great at mimicing on paper the ramblings inside a person's head, so much of which is absurd or silly, but which occasionally stumbles onto something profound and true. To make it more impressive, she manages to do this and keep the stories concise at the same time; while admittedly most of the characters come to assume similar voices, she nonetheless creates complex, unique narratives in often fewer than ten pages. (As a result, you can almost hear July speaking through her characters, a sort of series of monologues. I'm a sucker for this; it reminds me of Spalding Grey, or Italo Calvino.) Favorites were: 'This Person", "Something that Needs Nothing", and "The Boy from Lam Kien."
* If you don't have issue with occasional 'alternative' sexual content. If you watched 'You, Me, and Everyone We Know', well, it's kinda like that...