Tina's Reviews > No One Belongs Here More Than You

No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
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's review
Jul 27, 2013

liked it
bookshelves: borrowed, contemporary, anthology, 2013, literary-fiction
Recommended to Tina by: Bennard Fajardo

I spotted this book on another blog, really, and didn't really think of it until my friend posted about it on his blog. I was curious, only because of the first post I saw, and when I had a chance to borrow it from my friend, I jumped on the chance. I like short story collections, and ever since I read my first Carver, I felt like it was the kind of book I can manage back then. I wasn't in the mood for a lot of books, so maybe something like this would shock me out of the slump. Or at least, the bright yellow cover would, somehow.

No One Belongs Here More Than You is a collection of stories from Miranda July, who...I really have no idea who she is. I don't even know what the stories were about, so I really, really just took a chance on this book. This book contains stories of women, mostly, stories of ordinary things. People who do things, who are in search for things, who lost things. These are stories of the seemingly ordinary things that become extraordinary with the way the words were woven and how these simple things came about in each story.

I liked this well enough. I liked the ordinariness of it all -- the quiet and the commonplace things in the stories, and how they all translate into something that made me think and wonder if the story was real, or perhaps just the imagination of the character. I guess a little mistake I made when I first started to read this was to compare it to Carver. They're very different -- Carver's stories (from the one collection I read, anyway) left my heart in a bit of disquiet, like there are questions you want to ask but are kind of afraid of asking. July's stories, while some of them have the same effect as Carver, are different in the way she tackled things and left me thinking about how her stories just end, and there are no questions that I don't want to ask.

Here's the thing: everyone seemed to be so sad in this story. Not the heartbreaking sadness, but just a tinge of it, like these characters need a little hug or something. Sometimes, I feel like I need a hug after I read some of the stories, because I wished I could say something to the characters to ease them of things.

Did the title of the collection mean something? I guess so. It is what it is, I think: No one belongs here more than you. I may be over thinking it, but maybe these stories are really just about belonging, and how we long for that. I don't think all the characters in the stories found a place to belong, but as a reader, I hoped that they would still somehow find it, or that it would somehow found them, in their own fictional worlds.

Okay, I'm rambling. There were several stories that I wasn't fond of, but the interesting thing was the first and the last few were the ones I really liked. I started this on a high, then the excitement lulled, and just as when I was already resisting the urge to skim, I got to the last stories and found that I really, really liked them. My favorite, of all, is Birthmark, a story about a woman who had her port-wine stain removed from her face and her husband who didn't know anything about it, and how this birthmark affected them. It left me with very fond thoughts with the book after.

Miranda July's No One Belongs Here More Than You is a good read, especially for people who are fond of short story collections. It's not exactly my favorite, but I would read another July book again, given the chance. Plus that yellow cover and simple text is just something I would want to have printed and framed to remind myself that yes, no one belongs here more than you.

* Also posted at I Like It Dog-Eared
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Quotes Tina Liked

Miranda July
“Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it's worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person's face as you pass on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It's okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise.”
Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You

Reading Progress

July 27, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
July 27, 2013 – Shelved
July 27, 2013 – Shelved as: borrowed
August 18, 2013 – Started Reading
August 18, 2013 –
page 11
5.37% "The Shared Patio: It's okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise."
August 19, 2013 –
page 34
16.59% "The Man on the Stairs: This is my problem with life, I rush through it, like I'm being chased."
August 19, 2013 –
page 61
29.76% "It Was Romance: But the biggest reason to cry was to drench the air in front of our faces. It was romance. Not the falling-in-love kind but the sharing of air between our shoulders and chests and thighs. There was so much air to share."
August 20, 2013 –
page 110
53.66% "I wondered if I would spend the rest of my life inventing complicated ways to depress myself, now that I had finished my book and gone to meet the man who said I had promise a year ago but wasn't home today."
August 20, 2013 –
page 112
54.63% "To fall for a million years like a flute falls, musically, played by the air it is passing through. And to land with no mind, but with a heart that was breaking."
August 20, 2013 –
page 128
62.44% "I was actually writhing in heartache, as if I were a single muscle whose purpose is to mourn."
August 21, 2013 –
page 151
73.66% "It was a delicate, new strangeness, and I held onto it like a candle, hoping it would lead me to an even newer, stranger strangeness."
August 21, 2013 –
page 165
80.49% "We could not look away from each other, every inhalation was a question: Yes? Followed by: Yes. Falling and catching and falling and catching, we descended into a precarious and vivid place: I had always known it was there but had never guessed where. (Mon Plaisir)"
August 21, 2013 –
page 176
85.85% "He was waiting for her on his knees. He was worried she would not let him love her with the [port-wine] stain. He had already decided long ago, twenty or thirty minutes ago, that the stain was fine. He had only seen it for a moment, but he was already used to it. It was good. It somehow allowed them to have more. (Birthmark)"
August 21, 2013 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
August 21, 2013 – Shelved as: contemporary
August 21, 2013 – Shelved as: anthology
August 21, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
August 21, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Tina Emir Never wrote: "I know a Miranda who writes brilliantly. ;)"

Oh, do I know that Miranda, too? :)

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