I finished the book yesterday — it was one of those books where you want to hold off on reading some of the stories so that there are more surprises to come, but I don’t have that kind of discipline (I always finish the short story collections, but only occasionally have the discipline to finish the novels… what can I say?). I knew I would like the book because I liked Miranda July’s movie, You and Me and Everyone We Know. I wasn’t let down.
She’s subtle, she’s honest. Her characters are believable… So much so that I found myself picturing her as each of her characters, and I’d be a little surprised when they would have features (like weight or birthmarks or age) that didn’t match Ms. July’s profile. The stories teetered on bizarre if I only considered what was there, but metaphorically they were really lovely. Sometimes I think metaphor is too easily avoided by prose writers, or used sparingly, like a light seasoning to a main dish. Ms. July’s metaphors were the main dish, and in that sense, her stories are more poetic than most — I feel like I could read them again and again at different points in my life and get a new insight each time. They’re mostly, sadly, about failed relationships, disconnecting, misconnecting. About the distance between people who are thrown together by circumstance, and also the distance between people who long for one another.
…Sounds compelling doesn’t it? I really liked it. A couple of favorites were the one about the group of women who want to become more romantic and the one about the birthmark. Titles and quotes to come — my copy (which is yellow) is in the car at the moment.