Thursday, September 03, 2009

Collection in Review: No One Belongs Here More Than You

Last week when I blogged about "the gimmick" I made mention of Miranda July's collection No One Belongs Here More Than You, which I promptly went out and found a copy of (the yellow one, and, for those of you who've been to her website, no, I did not wear yellow while reading it).

I really enjoyed "The Man on the Stairs" and it is a story I think I could teach to a class, or at least use as a jumping off point in a fiction workshop.

There's a great sense of play in the language. I think my favorite one word sentence reappears several times in this story:
My oldest friend, Marilyn, loves to sing and is head of enrollment t a prestigious music school. It's a good job, but not as good as just opening your mouth and singing. La.
La. It is essentially a nonsense word that somehow is both descriptor and verb given the context, yet it is a context provided outside of the sentence the word appears in. I feel the urge to start getting all scholarly-analytical so I'll stop now; just know that I find it intriguing.

I'd finished just one story when I read margosita's comment that July's stories made her feel ungrounded, and I understand the sentiment completely. Although I think the word I would choose to describe the feeling is discombobulated.

I think July makes up for much of this in the breakneck speed of her writing. Yes, we're disoriented, but the landscape's rushing by so fast that our thoughts are only half formed, and the sentences are following this pattern, and we can't tell if it's the ground that's shifting or the car that's wobbling, and with the needle quickly dipping into three digits of speed we have to wonder how much of anything is real and how the hell any of us are going to survive it, and then ... thankfully ... the story ends. I breathe normally again. I shake myself. Blink a few times. And I'm very happy that what I just read was fiction and not my life; a thrill ride with a seat belt and not really a car on the highway.


Highly Recommended