Shedding a Little Bit of Light on the Dark

By Mandy Boyle
Advertising Sales Manager/Entertainment Editor

Over the summer, I had a chance to sit down and read a collection of short stories by Miranda July entitled No One Belongs Here More Than You. As a reader, I tend to get cravings for short stories, as they engage me and leave me with time to spare afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, novels are just as wonderful, but there’s something about a short story that makes it much like a dream.

July’s collection featured sixteen stories, each detailing different adult characters in various real-life situation. At only 224 pages it’s a quick read, and a great vacation companion. My only fault with July’s collection was that of the mood it sets.

Many of the stories can be extremely depressing, even disturbing for some. Though July used a witty style to engage the reader, some the stories can often leave a lagging empty feeling after finishing it. This sort of cynical, dark world view is something that is very common to a lot of contemporary writers, but the way in which July portrays her characters, you form connections, rather than feeling disengaged from the story.

As you read each story, you make a decision on whether or not you choose to like the character and they way in which they react to their lives. The manner in which the reader makes this choice helps shed a little light on some of the darker aspects of our lives. The reader gets to see the reasons for which a character makes a choice, in addition to the effects that it has on his or her life, both in the short term and permanently. If you’re interested in stepping inside the minds of sixteen different characters, with sixteen different sins, this piece is just the right door to open.

Author July is best known for her work in feature films. She wrote, directed and starred in her first feature-length film, Me and You and Everyone We Know in 2005, which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and four prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Camera d’Or. She is currently working on her second movie. This is her first published collection, but July has also featured pieces in the Harvard Review, The New Yorker, and the Zoetrope All-Story.

No One Belongs Here More Than You approaches a wide variety of controversial themes, including homosexuality, promiscuity, divorce, dishonesty, and independence. Coming at each issue from a different angle lends excitement and versatility to each story, as the style changes. This collection is not for the faint of heart, but I still recommend it as a read for anyone looking for a little darker piece of fiction.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]