“It still counts, even though it happened when he was unconscious.” – “The Shared Piano” by Miranda July.
Miranda July’s book No one belongs here more than you. is a very difficult book to ignore if you see the cover jacket. Unlike almost any new book (particularly in fiction) that features an image, illustration, or pattern on the jacket, July’s book is a wonderful Day-Glo yellow with the, what I believe is, Bembo font for the title. This 2007 release of July’s short stories visually reminds me of political book jackets from the 60s and 70s (or at least some of them), but it is very much set apart from the standard book jacket.
This certainly compliments the content of the book as well. July’s stories are beautifully written and engaging. At work I have generically or “in a nut shell” been describing it as a darker and somewhat somber (though still humorous) collection of stories good for people in their twenties and thirties. (In addition, July’s book also appeared in one of Time magazine’s top ten lists.) July tackles numerous topics and some of the reoccurring ones are gender and sexuality exploration (usually not in a hospitable environment), pedophilia and age in relationships, and female body issues. Certainly dense topics to explore, but July does it with whit, charm, and a splendid narrative structure.
Overall the feeling I was left with from the collection is a rather melancholy and cynical look at happiness in life, or at least July extends a lens and your own experiences may find you agreeing more or less with the characters. One of my favorite stories was “The Swim Team,” which was so oddly original: a woman who instructs three elderly individuals to swim without the use of any body of water larger than a bowl. Does it demand suspension of disbelief – yes – but it simultaneously was splendidly visual.
This is definitely a collection that is going on my must own list.