Sunday, August 3, 2008

On "This Person" by Miranda July (1049 words) *****

I first came across Miranda July when a friend of mine recommended her movie You and Me and Everyone We Know. It took me about a year to get around to seeing it--as many such suggestions take time to get around to--but once I did, I certainly enjoyed it, as she noted I would. It was quirky in a rather friendly sort of way--and yet it was also kind of disturbing. Disturbing yet reassuring. Those two don't usually go together. I heard about her forthcoming book a short while after that and was quite interested but never got around to buying it. One day, in a fit of sudden Miranda July interest inspiration, I searched for said book on the Net. Somehow, I ended up at the Library of Congress, where one of the stories from her collection No One Belongs Here More Than You is actually posted with the information. I read it, loved it, and quickly--well, within a year--rushed out and bought the book (let's say it quickly went on my list, and then when I had money, I purchased it). I loved the book, much as I loved the story. The collection is uneven, like most--high flying in places, a bit disappointing in others--but great reading all the same.

As for this story, it's one of my favorites in that collection. I love how July is able to capture the incredible weight that a social occasion or party can pose to someone. The use of "someone," "somebody," and "this person" as the protagonist makes the character into an everyman (or -woman--the character has breasts), but it also makes the story seem rather nonsensical and flirty--the way you might hear some parent say something like, "Someone has a birthday today" (as if you--the birthday girl/boy--don't know). And that's what makes the story so funny and powerful. The lengths to which "someone" gets used--someone gets to have a party or someone gets to go blind or . . . Just read the story, and then buy the book.

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