Monday, December 15, 2008

Miles From Nowhere by Nami Mun


Teenage Joon is a Korean immigrant living in the Bronx of the 1980s. Her parents have crumbled under the weight of her father’s infidelity; he has left the family, and mental illness has rendered her mother nearly catatonic. So Joon, at the age of thirteen, decides she would be better off on her own, a choice that commences a harrowing and often tragic journey that exposes the painful difficulties of a life lived on the margins. Joon’s adolescent years take her from a homeless shelter to an escort club, through struggles with addiction, to jobs selling newspapers and cosmetics, committing petty crimes, and, finally, toward something resembling hope.

In raw and beautiful prose, Nami Mun delivers the story of a young woman who is at once tough and vulnerable, world-weary and naive, faced with insurmountable odds and yet fiercely determined to survive. In the process, Mun creates one of the most indelible characters in recent fiction and establishes herself as an extraordinarily talented new voice.

Brutally honest, linguistically inventive, and profoundly moving, Miles from Nowhere is a work of fiction that will haunt and inspire a generation of readers.

I discussed this book to a pretty great length with several other readers and because of that lots of questions came up for me and I was able to think about this book in greater depth but it also left me with a lot of questions that I don't know the answers to!

The book started off great for me, Joon has runaway and makes a few friends in the shelter she is staying at. Great first few chapters that include working as a dance hostest and meeting a variety of other characters and doing some sort of crazy things.

Strange things start to happen, like Joon seeing what she thinks are angels and things with her family, things that didn't make total sense to me. I guess maybe I don't do so well with stories that aren't concrete because I definitely had a hard time deciding what was real and what she was seeing in her own mind. That was probably on purpose but I like to know what's going on!

I did like the way this book was written, in little fragments, similar I thought to 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, over Joon's teen years. We get to revisit characters from the beginning of the book and meet new ones. But also, because of that some of the characters are mentioned so briefly we don't really get to know them and understand their purpose in the book.

I wasn't very happy with the ending. It just ended and I wasn't really sure where things were left. So I guess I liked the premise and the beginning of the book and towards the end things didn't work for me as much.

Check out the Noontime Chats from last week to see some of our discussions!

Miles From Nowhere is released on December 26th!

3/5 Stars
ARC provided by publisher


  1. I keep seeing this book everywhere! Interesting. It's not something I'd pick up - I just had to say I hate the cover. >.<

    Anyway, good review. Where do you get off on saying you aren't critical? :)


  2. Anonymous7:06 AM

    You and J. Kaye have made me leery of this book because of the ending.

  3. Sounds like a good one. :)

  4. I've had to read books (for classes) with the is-it-real-or-the-character's-imagination thing. It's pretty frustrating!

    Like Steph, the cover on this one is blah. I guess it fits since it's a depressing sounding book though. I just don't know. lol

  5. Anonymous9:29 PM

    That's pretty much how I feel. Well said!

  6. Anonymous9:29 PM

    P.S. I need to get mine!

  7. Anonymous1:06 AM

    endings are important :) and anyways I never liked the cover :)

  8. Anonymous10:15 PM

    I'm bummed that you didn't like the ending. This sounds like a really interesting book. I might have to check it out anyway.

  9. Hmm...the description of the book sounds good, but I'm pretty sure I'd hate the ending.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  10. Steph- I actually really like the cover, LOL! I guess maybe I sort of dance around stuff I don't like so much and focus on the better stuff?

    bermudaonion- I guess by the end of it the ending didn't really surprise me, LOL. I was hoping for more closure though.

    Keri Mikulski- It definitely shined a light on an interesting girl and her life!

    Amee- It's so frustrating! I'm a sucker for city skylines so it make me drool!

    J. Kaye- This was definitely a hard one to write! But it turned out to be a great one to discuss!

    Veens- I think I might be the only person that likes the cover!

    debbiesworld- You should! I think I just need a break from books with this type of ending!

    Anna- The book definitely has a lot to offer, might be worth a try!


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