- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books; First Edition edition (January 16, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0735221960
- ISBN-13: 978-0735221963
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 125 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Everything Here Is Beautiful Hardcover – January 16, 2018
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“Lee's debut novel is a profoundly relatable drama about how far you would, or should, go for family.” –Marie Claire
“Sisterly ties take on brilliant nuance in Mira T. Lee’s shattering debut about love, loss, psychosis, and what we owe ourselves and the family we love. . . beautifully written.” –The Boston Globe
“This exquisite book is one that will hurtle past all your expectations.” –Bustle
“Deftly dealing with big issues such as mental illness and immigration, this debut is a powerful look at love and family.” –PopSugar
“[A] gorgeous yet heartbreaking debut.” –Real Simple
“Lee’s prose is economical, sharp, and piercing. But the reason I enjoyed this smarting book is for its sixth sense in portraying the bond between two sisters who are nothing like one another, and how that disparity can transition into distance. . . Lee has managed to write a book that feels wholly alive.” --KQED
“Everything Here Is Beautiful is filled with unexpected, fragile moments of beauty.” –Shelf Awareness
“[A] powerfully hopeful novel with characters that will stay with readers for a long time.” –Bust
“[An] exciting debut about two sisters. . . the unpredictable changes of their lives, and the necessary sacrifices and important gifts that sisterhood brings.” –Southern Living
“[A] promising debut… Lee handles a sensitive subject with empathy and courage. Readers will find much to admire and ponder throughout, and Lucy’s section reveals Lee as a writer of considerable talent and power.” –Publishers Weekly
“An incredibly moving and thoughtful exploration of mental illness and its toll on family and loved ones [told] with empathy and tenderness." --Buzzfeed
“A truly stunning and emotional debut.” –HelloGiggles
“[An] impressive debut. . . Everything Here Is Beautiful finds the sweet spot between the truth and beauty of a disease that can inspire hope in the midst of sadness and frustration.” –Seattle Times
“An evocative and beautifully written debut.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Astonishing and imaginative. . . . This electrifiying first novel is wistful, wise and utterly unforgettable.” –BookPage
“This debut novel is. . . the best kind of drama. ” –Newsday
“Impressive.” –Seattle Times
“A powerful read about sacrifice and love.” –Paste
“[A] tender, beautifully written novel.” –Washington Independent Review of Books
“Intelligent, thought-provoking and moving--I loved it. I felt quite bereft on reading its final pages.” –Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Girl on the Train
“Everything Here Is Beautiful is a tender but unflinching portrayal of the bond between two sisters--one that's frayed by mental illness and stretched across continents, yet still endures. With ventriloquistic skill, Mira T. Lee explores the heartache of loving someone deeply troubled and the unbearable tightrope-walk between holding on and letting go.” –Celeste Ng, New York Timesbestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You
“Stunning and unforgettable. . . filled with voices that resonate and haunt. An intimately personal tale about family, self, and the risks we take to care for the ones we love.” --Ruth Ozeki, New York Times bestselling author of A Tale for the Time Being
“Mira T. Lee deeply understands the human need for belonging, and in her compassionate debut, she presents an aching yet hopeful story of characters striving to belong despite vast impediments, and the emotional costs incurred in this quest for a love-filled life.” –Imbolo Mbue, author of the PEN/Faulkner award-winning Behold the Dreamers
“A heartfelt story about sisters, family bonds, immigration, love, and an unvarnished look at how mental illnesses impact the lives of the person living with them and those who love and try to understand. . . In Mira T. Lee, mental health has found a new novelist champion.”
— Pete Earley, New York Times bestselling author of Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness
“A luminous testament of loss and reclamation and the painful necessity of love. . .”
—Ron Powers, New York Times bestselling author of No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America
“This heart-wrenching, delicately drawn novel is filled with family love, passion, pain and forgiveness. Mira T. Lee spins a story spanning oceans that draws us ever closer to her characters' generous, flawed hearts. Powerful and unforgettable.” –Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Mambo in Chinatown
“This book took my breath away. Lee has an incredible gift for empathy--I found myself rooting for, and caring deeply about, all of characters, even when they couldn't stand each other. I especially commend her nuanced, compassionate depiction of mental illness and how it impacts families. Everything Here Is Beautiful is an insightful, generous celebration of our capacity and complexity as human beings.” –Mark Lukach, internationally bestselling author of My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward
“Everything about this book is beautiful. It's a sisters story, an immigrant story, and, more than a story of one family, it's an unflinching reflection of the fast-changing American Family.” --Ron Fournier, New York Times bestselling author Love That Boy
“Everything Here is Beautiful vividly captures the kaleidoscope of emotional contradictions within our bonds to family and country. Mira T. Lee's powerful debut crafts an elegiac journey: uplifting, disturbing, and--proving its title--beautiful.” –Matthew Pearl, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookaneer
“Mira Lee has crafted an eloquent, vivid story not just of mental illness, but of passionate longing and family love in which there are no perfect choices but always a pulsing light of hope.” –Lucy Ferriss, bestselling author of A Sister to Honor
“I was steadily drawn into this beautifully-written story of enduring love and family, however family is defined. Mira T. Lee’s characters are captivating and very real, illustrating how intractable mental illness marks everyone in its sphere and renders the quotidian both beautiful and threatening. A compelling read.” –Daphne Kalotay, bestselling author of Sight Reading
“Charismatic and electrifying. Lee makes vivid the messiness of life and the way we tie ourselves in knots just trying to do the simplest things: love and be loved in return. A knockout.” –Rufi Thorpe, author of Dear Fang, With Love
“There's not a false note to be found, and everywhere there are nuggets to savor. Why did it have to end?” --O Magazine
“A bold debut. . . Lee sensitively relays experiences of immigration and mental illness, . . . a distinct literary voice.” –Entertainment Weekly
“Extraordinary. . . If you love anyone at all, this book is going to get you.” –USA Today
About the Author
Mira T. Lee's work has been published in numerous quarterlies and reviews, including The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, and Triquarterly. She was awarded an Artist's Fellowship by the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2012, and has twice received special mention for the Pushcart Prize. She is a graduate of Stanford University, and currently lives with her husband and two children in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is her debut novel.
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Two sisters, Chinese American, raised in New York by a single mother, the eldest, Miranda, whose self-appointed role is to look out for her younger sibling. Lucia, the younger, marries a man, who couldn’t be more her opposite, and there was something about him that I found him to be one of the highlights of the story. Several other characters cross her path who are so colorful and add such depth and warmth. One, in particular, was really striking.
While Lucia’s state of mind is challenging to contend with, Miranda does everything in her power to help maintain a relationship with her sister.
Always on the move, Lucia meets Manny. Life for each of them is never going to be as it was.
When a story leads you down paths you never would have conjured, introduces you to people you probably would not meet in real life, languages you didn’t know you wanted to know, opens your eyes to different kinds of love, shows you compassion for things that you might not have understood before, this is beautiful. This is EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL.
I loved this debut novel about two Chinese-American sisters, Miranda and Lucia, and their lifelong bond. Lucia is plagued by mental illness, and Miranda feels responsible for taking care of her sister. But life takes them in separate directions: Miranda to Switzerland, and Lucia to Ecuador with her boyfriend and newborn baby.
Novels with multiple narrators can be hit or miss, but it works nicely here. It's interesting to experience different characters' perspectives as they intertwine with each other's lives.
There's a melancholy beauty to this book—in spite of the solemn subject matter, there's plenty of humor, compassion and genuine (if unconventional) love. The characters consistently try to do what's best for themselves and for each other; though inevitably, it's at times impossible to do both.
Reading is a pleasure, a joy, a wonderful juxtaposition of our prior knowledge, our future selves, and mostly a tangible reminder of how we spend our time. There once was a day when literature and book reading were limited. Now, with no limitations of what we can read, or how we can spend our time, any time we hear about a book, and spend the time actually reading it; time, our most precious resource, is of extreme value. I loved every moment of my time spent reading this book. I loved being transported to South America, to the most charming villages of New York City and the sparkling dynasties of the snowy Midwest. The characters are in my heart now. I will live with them forever as I have with so many of the beautiful characters of the greatest books I have experienced. Mira T. Lee has captured the essence of family, of sisterhood, of in laws from hell and heaven, while at the same time eclipsing the wonders of the brain and its disorders, and our relationship to that when it appears in our most beloved friends, lovers, and family. What great artists know is that great stories are real, and this story is real. It reads real. And it remains real, throughout the reading, and the remembering. I loved this book. The characters are real, the descriptions are beautiful, the text is lovely, the sounds, the dialects, the pictures of the surrounding backdrops, whether you are in South America, Europe or the United States, it is all touchable, fathomable and delightfully real. It is a story of love of the many different kinds of love and it is timeless.
Mira T. Lee’s hauntingly-beautiful, debut novel begins with this mantric, prayer-like author’s note. In the ensuing pages is a first-rate novel, and story about emotion, empathy, loss, mental illness, family, and the love that binds us all.
The novel spans decades, and the story crosses borders between New Jersey, the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Queens, Ecuador, Switzerland, and Minnesota. Early in the novel, we find out Lucia is struggling with mental illness, some combination of bipolar and schizophrenia.
We see this illness from the loving, but sometimes suffocating and over-bearing eye of her dedicated and caring sister, Miranda.
We see this illness from the eyes of her loyal and loving husband, Yonah.
We see it through the eyes of her younger, romantic partner, Manuel.
We see it through the eyes of the town of Meyer, MN.
And perhaps most importantly, we experience Lucia’s illness through her own eyes and heart.
We also see how the illness ripples through the broader family.
We see how it both complicates and enriches Miranda’s marriage to Stefan.
We see how it binds Manuel’s extended family through a near-tragedy.
We see how it provides support to a friend that Lucia meets when both are seeking help at a treatment facility.
We see how it teaches Yonah what it means to love.
Lee’s narrative form evokes empathy in the reader. Chapters are told from shifting points of view: the protagonist Lucia, her sister Miranda, her two lovers, Yonah and Manuel. In this way, we see Lucia’s mental illness and life through the same kaleidoscope through which all families experience the suffering and triumphs of their loved ones.
At one point in the novel, Miranda feels she needs to visit her sister in Ecuador. Stefan, her husband, views another cross-Atlantic trip from Switzerland as futile.
Husband and wife’s difference of opinion in this scene echo an earlier moment in the story, when Miranda says to her husband, “But that’s not her, Stefan.” With Miranda’s exasperation, we ache that her husband only knows the Lucia that is not well, not her fullest self. We bemoan this gap in knowledge between Miranda and Stefan, arising from the Lucia each knows. We see how, at times, this experience gap can be a wedge between Miranda and Stefan.
Stefan much later says to Miranda, as he questions whether she should go see her sister and whether the trip will make a difference, “I love you, Miranda…I love you.”
To which Miranda says, “This is me, Stefan.”
“This” being her relationship with her sister, and all that it encompasses.
In this small exchange, Miranda is trying to tell her husband that through blood, empathy, sisterly-bond, love, through mysteries untold, whatever you want to call it…Miranda and Lucia are one. Lucia’s life is inseparable from Miranda’s.
But also, love is not finite. Miranda has enough of it for her husband and her sister. Love makes Miranda and her husband one too. Makes us all one.
To embrace me, Miranda seems to be saying, you must embrace Lucia’s illness as if it were your own.
And this invitation is not just for Stefan or any one person. Miranda’s beckoning is perhaps the overriding call-to-action emanating from this story. The story of Lucia and her family is a mandate for us all. We cannot love in isolation. “For the families” - the author’s note is intentional in its broad address. We must love one another, love all, in sickness and in health. Further, empathy within a family need not stop there, should not stop there. It must expand beyond the family to community, and ultimately beyond that to all humanity.
In this honest, bare-naked, and authentic story of family and the ties that bind them, Lee will surely turn the hearts of readers outward. The story of Lucia and the pain/love that connects everyone around her is from the same batch of pain/love that connects us all to each other. Empathy and emotion binds everyone, and must be indiscriminate and open towards those enduring mental illness or experiencing suffering of any kind.
The story of Lucia will help us see that when anyone suffers, that person - like Lucia is for Miranda - is not another, but is us too; and so, he/she deserves our undying empathy.