How and where did you access it?
I was recommended not the book, but the author, by a friend who knew of my love of stories set in insular mental landscapes, often told from female or queer perspective. I rushed online to find this book and was enamoured with the cover, and eventually, the content.
How did it make you feel?
Legitimised. I say this not only in reference to queer representation (the book features a number of LGBT characters) but in terms of a sense of peculiarity, of oddness and sameness. The stories in this book, on occasion, focus on themes that could be considered banal or pedestrian, yet never fails to isolate a gem of resonance and meaning. This is a book that one may read on a train or bus and feel an odd chime of familiarity, as if someone has extracted one of your innermost thoughts and read it back to you as if it were their own.
The stories contain many queer loves, and I mean queer in every sense of the word. One female character loves Prince William via remote fantasy, a love that is skewed through the prism of class and geographical impossibilities. Another character falls in love with a dark shape, a kind of ghostly entity that transverses the years and phases of her life.
Other loves are queer in the newly-traditional sense. Men love men, women love women, people love things that aren't human, or often even real. Some loves are lost and almost all are questioned.
The protagonist of The Swim Team laments a lost lover in one of the book's most heartbreaking moments "You seem incredibly far away to me, like someone on the other side of a lake. A dot so small that it isn't male or female or young or old; it is just smiling." That is love in it's least gendered form - lost, and No One Belongs Here More Than You is an anthem to that feeling.
Did you share it?
Yes - with everyone I knew would love it. It is my most gifted book.
James David Fox