Miranda July writes for relationship damaged city dwellers: those between Sex And The City and Woody Allen movies. Mythical creatures randomly thrown into this world, amazed while permanently shaking their heads over everything, and somehow still getting along.
In almost all of those 16 stories arises a tension between childlike naivete and wisdom. A fragile poetry of sorts and in the best of those stories one can feel the innocence, the purity of the first gaze of amazement.
They are not short stories in the classical sense. Those texts dont stay focused, they chatter and they disgress. Some ideas seems to have been pieced together out of Julys notebooks into stories.
The end result is of varying quality and lies probably in the nature of the beast. Half of those stories are really close to something very special, and develop their own disturbing quality. Others seem more calculated, intentional, and the intended surprise is lacking, even implausible. In these moments Miranda July is the one who I imagine whispering: Screw you. I am different.
And for this I love her dearly.
Miranda July borrows her voice to those slighly misplaced outsiders and draws them back via those stories as violently as gracefully into existence. The middle-aged, overweight and abandoned women, the young, shy and wistful ones or the lonely, troubled, older men. Cruel and tender between depression, euphoria, self-deception and arrogance she cannot always succeed. Using a language that defies any emotional cliché she tells stories that are outside and beyond experience. Still where there is language, there is sound.
Those short stories are living in vagueness and are yet concrete. They are comforting and sad. They occur in the neurotic, are playful, tearful, hopeful and jumping out of the pretty head of Miranda July into the world, are already in the world.
They relate to life as life should be, not how it is. They are romantic stories as romance for how one should live a life properly, and they are spiritual stories because they are supported by a belief in an order of things.
Not cheesy or goofy she tells her stories between irony and pathos, and a beauty arises which is piled into the sadness of existence. Its the mystery that drives the prose, the "it is never quite clear who or why". Somehow pathetic there is always a truth behind the wor(l)d. Kept on the border between dream and wakefulness, between fear and redemption they do not look into the mirror but onto the frame.
Its about people who have lost themselves. People who love to think about all the things they have done wrong.