“It's New York in the '80s, and Joon is a teenage Korean immigrant living in the Bronx who is now on the run. Rarely does a first novel blaze across our dark night with the brilliance and fury of lightning -- but Mun's Miles From Nowhere is just that electric. A debut to cheer.”
— Nick Petrulakis, Books Inc., Alameda, CA
A major voice in fiction debuts with the story of a teenage runaway on the streets of 1980s New York.
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.
About the Author
Nami Mun was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up there and in Bronx, New York. She has worked as an Avon Lady, an activities coordinator for a nursing home, a photojournalist, and a criminal investigator. After earning her GED, she graduated from UC Berkeley, and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. A recipient of a Pushcart Prize, she has published in numerous journals including the 2007 Pushcart Prize anthology, The Iowa Review, Tin House, Evergreen Review, Witness, and other journals. She currently lives in Chicago.
"[A] searing debut...[Mun] writes with lovely precision, lending a hallucinatory beauty to the bleak world she has created." -People (four stars, "Pick of the Week")
"Emotionally upending...Mun relays it all with a jarring honesty that makes the book...impossible to forget." -Boston Globe
"Gritty, riveting...Filled with soft and lovely descriptive touches...[Mun] zip[s] back and forth between despair and joy, between degradation and exhilaration." -Chicago Tribune
"Remarkable...As the best novelists do, Mun has taken the essence of her personal experience and reshaped it into something original." -Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Heartbreaking...We follow teenage runaway Joon as she navigates dark New York streets, and ultimately finds hope and the will to survive." -Glamour
"Brilliant and authentic...Those who delight in the raw power of words have a new author to add to our libraries." -Dallas Morning News
"Graceful, nearly transcendent...One of the most vivid and haunting novels I've read in years." -San Diego Union- Tribune
"Beautiful...Illuminates a side of American life one is not likely to see elsewhere." -The Believer