No one belongs here more than you is a collection of short stories by author and performance artist Miranda July, given to me by my close friend Lucas Miller. I haven’t figured it out — but somehow, someway — Lucas seems to have his finger on culture’s finest pulse. He regularly points me in the direction of quality music and literature and, on occasion, the most premium of goofs. Being friends with Lucas is like being friends with a museum, and I am all the more cultured for it.
July’s first short in this collection is a testament to that fact. The Shared Patio annoyed me at first, likely because the narrator is gargantuanly needy. She is abrasive and insane and, as the reader, I wanted so deeply to slap her.
But I think that’s the point, and it makes the story all the more affecting.
What I loved most about The Shared Patio was the way in which July layers everything that’s going on, both in form and in grammar. The narrative follows the inner thoughts of a lonely, lonely woman. More than that, she is wildly ignorant in her fantasies. She references a “typo” being industry lingo for “typographical error,” as if that were a language the average adult were not privy to.
What I love is that this character trait is mimicked grammatically.
People tend to stick to their own size group because it’s easier on the neck. Unless they are romatically involved, in which case the size difference is sexy. It means: I am willing to go the distance for you.
I was frustrated when I first read this passage. It feels more natural to write “It says, “I am willing to go the distance for you.”‘ I would guess, and hope, that structuring sentences so awkwardly is a part of the story because they come directly from the narrator. I love it.
And then, of course, there are the block quotes that break up the story itself. At first they appear random, these short and absurd self help tips. However, as is the case with any good bit of writing, the reader discovers what those blocked quotes mean at the exact right moment. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that they make the story extremely valuable.
I have to say: thank you, to Lucas. I love No One Belongs Here More Than You and I anticipate I will continue to love it.