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No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories [Hardcover]

Miranda July
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 15 2007
In her debut collection of short stories, July introduces the possibility of a moment that can change everything. A child stands in the sidewalk; a woman lies motionless in bed beside her husband; a teacher pauses at the chalkboard; when suddenly the daily drone is disrupted by something completely unexpected. July's characters are awkward and often remote, yet they are also profoundly sympathetic. With great compassion and generosity she reveals the idiosyncrasies, vulnerability, longing, and odd logic that govern our lives. In "No One Belongs Here More Than You July" creates a deliriously hopeful universe where strangers hug and students swim across the kitchen floor. The same energy that captivates her film audiences is transposed into exhilarating new fiction.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

It's a testament to July's artistry that the narrators of this arresting first collection elicit empathy rather than groans. "Making Love in 2003," for example, follows a young woman's dubious trajectory from being the passive, discarded object of her writing professor's attentions to seducing a 14-year-old boy in the special-needs class she teaches, while another young woman enters the sex industry when her girlfriend abandons her, with a surprising effect on the relationship. July's characters over these 16 stories get into similarly extreme situations in their quests to be loved and accepted, and often resort to their fantasy lives when the real world disappoints (which is often): the self-effacing narrator of "The Shared Patio" concocts a touching romance around her epilectic Korean neighbor; the aging single man of "The Sister" weaves an elaborate fantasy around his factory colleague Victor's teenage sister (who doesn't exist) to seduce someone else. July's single emotional register is familiar from her film Me and You and Everyone We Know, but it's a capacious one: wry, wistful, vulnerable, tough and tender, it fully accommodates moments of bleak human reversals. These stories are as immediate and distressing as confessionals. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

July's collection of stories is a gem of unconventional storytelling. Comparisons to Lorrie Moore only get the potential reader halfway there; one must add Karen Finley's meditations and Douglas Coupland's painful self-exploration. July's unadorned prose has a conversational tone, sounding like overheard bus conversations. The disaffected are well represented in such stories as "Something That Needs Nothing" and "The Swim Team," but July is at her best when she takes it a step further. The merely marginal individual borders on the grotesque in "Majesty," about a middle-aged woman's strange obsession with Prince William, and in "Mon Plaisir," with its odd and strangely removed discussion of a couple's odd sexuality. However, the most powerful piece in the collection, "This Person," is told by an unseen narrator. "Someone" gets--and rejects--"her one chance to be loved by everyone," and the story of this opportunity and how it is dismissed is told in a detached, dreamlike narrative. Debi Lewis
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough diversity in this story collection July 24 2009
By J. Tobin Garrett TOP 1000 REVIEWER
If I could I would give this book 3 1/2 stars, but Amazon doesn't allow fence-sitters like me to give halfies, so 3 stars it is.

Don't get me wrong, there are many great stories in this collection. There are funny moments, tender moments, disturbing moments...all the things that good stories need.

However, even though the stories are good, the characters and themes in the stories are almost identical to each other. The characters are all depressed/anxious/lonely women trying to connect to the larger world somehow. This in and of itself could be tolerable if each of the stories was written or presented in a different way. As it stands, I can't really distinguish between each of the stories, leaving me feeling as though I was reading the same story over and over again. I even stopped reading a story halfway through, picked the book up a few hours later and got several pages in before I realized I wasn't even reading the same one.

She's got writing talent, but is missing diversity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book of short stories March 15 2012
By Rachel
I discovered Miranda July's work when I watched her award-winning, independent film "You, Me and Everyone We Know" which I found very funny and touching. She wrote her book of short stories "No One Belongs Here More Than You" right after that movie and previous to making her second film "The Future". The honesty and freedom with which she expresses herself through her work is refreshing and deeply moving. She is a fantastic story-teller but weaves issues that affect all of us, especially 25-35 year olds in a very unique way.

Miranda July is an incredibly talented performance artist, writer, actress and director. I feel very lucky to have found her. She's married to Mike Mills, who is also a very talented and sensitive filmmaker in his own right. I recommend seeing his movie "Beginners" as well as Miranda July's "You, Me and Everyone We Know" and "The Future" if you haven't already :o)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Weird and wonderful short stories Feb. 13 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Miranda is such a creative, bizarre, amazing writer - I love her short stories and can't wait for more fiction from her!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  101 reviews
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive Aug. 11 2007
By Gina Pell - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are some very private, strangely beautiful moments in these short stories. It's an almost perfect little tome although a writer friend of mine made a very interesting observation. He said that he often felt that Miranda's quirkiness superseded substance as was the case in "The Swimming Lesson." In retrospect I agree with him but I still loved this book and bought copies to give to friends. It's worth a read.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So Twee it's Kind of Painful Jan. 29 2012
By BraMaster - Published on
I kind of had a secret crush on Miranda July after watching her delightful film "You and Me and Everyone We Know". After reading this book though, the shine is beginning to wear off.

I enjoyed the first few stories of this book, but was more than ready to move on to something else by the end. Her stories aren't so much stories in the traditional sense, but more like quirky, silly things that come into her mind that's written into a stream of consciousness which then don't really have endings in the traditional sense either. All of this could be fine, but every story is just so precious and kooky there's no ground of normalcy to stand on.

There are times though when she really captures the small things in life. There were some instances where she's describing the small behaviors of couples interactions that really connected with me, as I felt I'd had similar experiences that I'd never seen written out like that. I do love her creativity, as this book is like nothing else that I've read. I just wish there would have been a bit more substance in place of some of her Miranda July-ness.

Also, something that annoyed me was how her dialogue never ends with "so and so said". It's just paragraph after paragraph of characters dialogue, and sometimes I had to go back and figure out which character was saying what. Why does she do that? It's kooky I guess.

All in all, this book is best in small doses. Read a chapter here and there, and you'll probably have some fun. Otherwise, you may overdose on twee.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite there yet July 1 2008
By A. Summers - Published on
These are charming, but ultimately forgettable stories. The book feels a little like the adventures of one character (who is definitely female), although there are many different characters who feature throughout. I didn't get a really distinct sense of voice for each character, nor was I carried into their worlds as completely as I'd hoped to be. Some of the stories felt a little contrived, or like they were trying too hard to be quirky.

I'm going to go watch the film, instead.
47 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not quite as charming as i'd hoped May 23 2007
By jqln - Published on
I read this because of the feature length film, but where the film was potent and endearing, this was so-so. The quirkiness of the characters and bizarre dialogue is much the same style as Miranda's other work, but after a while it becomes insipid. In a filmic medium Miranda uses timing masterfully to create awkwardness, but this quality isn't to be found in her short stories. Granted, I appreciate and admire her ability to rotate mediums, and this book brings you to a closer understanding of her vision, but her writing doesn't necessarily excite me. Despite this, if you love Miranda's other work, you will probably enjoy reading this. If this is your first time encountering Miranda, I suggest first watching "Me and You and Everyone We Know".
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thanks, Miranda Nov. 9 2009
By Michelle Miller - Published on
This collection of short stories is very intimate and raw. I have to admit that Miranda July's writing makes me uncomfortable, but it also rings true. Maybe it's good to be made to feel uncomfortable. To have someone ask the hard questions without offering answers.
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