New year, new books. Today, we are pleased to feature a review of Mira T. Lee’s debut novel Everything Here Is Beautiful, out today from Pamela Dorman Books. Reviewer Katharine Coldiron writes: “Mira T. Lee’s voice is not reassuring or simple; it is alive, worthy of pursuit and concentration.” Read the review, and check out the book.
Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
Classifying Mira T. Lee’s energetic debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful, as a story about sisterhood is inadequate at best and misleading at worst. The novel involves a sisterly relationship, certainly, as two of the narrating characters are sisters, but the fabric of the novel isn’t primarily of one color. It weaves in several Big Themes: immigration in America, mental illness, romantic love, motherhood. However, in practice, it’s a satisfying, surprising, multifaceted novel, not easily summed up by its themes.
Appropriately, the prose is narrated by a variety of entities. These include two sisters, Miranda and Lucia, who were brought to America in childhood by their Chinese mother and who bounce from New England to South America and Europe seeking home; Lucia’s Ecuadorian lover, Manuel; and her Russian husband, Yonah. Two sections are seemingly narrated, in third-person omniscient, by locations: Crote Six (a psychiatric ward) and Meyer, Minnesota (a small town). The primary characters are Manuel, a quiet and hardworking man who cannot help but disappoint anyone out of sync with his traditional perspective, and Lucia, a complex woman with a strong will, exceptional charisma, and a difficult-to-manage mental illness. Read more.