Just finished Miranda July's short story collection, No One Belongs Here More Than You. I'm a big fan of July's, a modern day Renaissance woman -- filmmaker, writer, performance artist and developer of eccentric web projects. Here's her MySpace page.
July's work often features characters who are "on the edge" and "on the edges" emotionally and psychologically. This was fine in her film, the odd and touching Me and You and Everyone We Know (which she wrote, directed and starred in), since we followed the same characters throughout. In No One Belongs Here More Than You, we encounter a panoply of similar characters over and over, but without the continuing story line, so that the stories become, at best, repetitive and unsettling and, at worst, annoying and creepy. July's trademark off-kilter humor is still here, which is a good thing.
Don't get me wrong; there are some fine stories here, but the cumulative weirdness and the characters' relentless air of longing nearly kept me from finishing the book. And that would have been a shame, since two of the better stories, "Birthmark" (my favorite) and "How to Tell Stories to Children," are the last two in the book.
Regardless of how I feel about the stories, I love July's web promotion for the book (note that there's one more click after the black screen). It's particularly July-esque (although I was disappointed to learn recently that July's real name is Miranda Grossinger).