"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..."
"Charismatic and electrifying... A knockout."
"...a stunning and unforgettable book filled with voices that resonate and haunt..."
"This was a powerhouse of a book... Compulsive reading and wonderfully drawn characters... I will sell this gladly to customers looking for a big book to get lost in."
Two sisters: Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister's protector; Lucia, the vibrant, headstrong, unconventional one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, it's Miranda who must fight for the help her sister needs — even as Lucia refuses to be defined by any doctor's diagnosis. Determined, impetuous, she plows ahead, marrying a big-hearted Israeli only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She will move with her new family to Ecuador, but the bitter constant remains: she cannot escape her own mental illness. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until inevitably, she crashes to earth. And then Miranda must decide, again, whether or not to step in — but this time, Lucia may not want to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans, but what does it take to break them?
Told from alternating perspectives, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its core, a heart-wrenching family drama about relationships and tough choices — how much we're willing to sacrifice for the ones we love, and when it's time to let go and save ourselves.
Forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books (Viking Penguin), January 2018.
American Booksellers Association (ABA) selects EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL for its Indies Introduce program - as one of their Top 10 Debuts for Winter/Spring 2018.
"...Everything Here Is Beautiful explores the boundaries of our responsibilities to those we love, and how we might go about honoring someone's self-determination when that person may not be stable enough to be up to the task. At what point does taking care of someone else cease to serve anyone involved, and how do you know when you're there? Mira T. Lee's debut work is necessary — a generous, beautiful, and frank examination of a very difficult subject."
— Sarah Bumstead, Bookseller, Vroman's Bookstore (Pasadena, CA)
"...In this debut novel, Lee takes on the subject of mental illness and how loved ones must navigate its unpredictable, destructive path. What elevates Everything Here Is Beautiful from being solely a story about illness is Lee's beautiful rendering of Lucia and Miranda, first-generation Chinese-American sisters who, after losing their mother, must forge their lives as young women without family guidance or support... Lee's writing is dynamic, lush, and mesmerizing. I couldn't put this book down as I rooted for Lucia and Miranda to gain control of their lives and embrace the beauty in this process."
— Janine De Boisblanc, Bookseller, Orinda Books (Orinda, CA)
"This was a powerhouse of a book. Compulsive reading and wonderfully drawn characters and without a doubt the most inventive narrative I have read in awhile... I will sell this gladly to customers looking for a big book to get lost in."
— Betty Sudarsky, Bookseller, Wellesley Books (Wellseley, MA)
Girl, Interrupted: A first novel probes a soul's dark nights
"Lucia's fierce passions—for New York City; for her sister and their dying Chinese immigrant mother; for the men she loves; for her daughter, Esperanza; for the Peking duck and spareribs she was raised on—are impossible for anyone, least of all the reader, to resist... There's not a false note to be found, and everywhere there are nuggets to savor."
— Leigh Haber, O, The Oprah Magazine
"We are all at the mercy of the people we love, whatever misfortunes they meet or bring upon themselves... That's the power of family, awful and wonderful, and this power ripples through the pages of Mira T. Lee's extraordinary debut novel... If you love anyone at all, this book is going to get you." (Full review)
"Over and over in this exquisite novel, we see the rubble that mental illness can leave in its wake... beautifully written... Lee's portrait of schizophrenia is compassionate and harrowing... With expert grace and compassion, Lee moves her cast of characters through the years..." (Full review)
Six More Books to Read This Winter
"This debut novel is rooted in the relationship between two sisters, exploring the way love turns into duty when mental illness strikes in a family."
"In shimmering prose, Lee nimbly unfurls a story that slithers like a serpent back and forth through time and across the threshold between what is perceived and what is real, producing a nuanced view of a complex woman and what it means to love her... This electrifying first novel is wistful, wise and utterly unforgettable." (Full review)
"It's to Lee's credit that she divides her sympathies between Lucia and those who care about her. Yes, her book is about the bond between two sisters, as indicated on its cover. But its real achievement goes beyond that relationship and depicts the way mental illness shapes family dynamics no matter how that bond is formed." (Full review)
"This novel could have been another assembly-line debut in a publishing landscape full of them, and instead, it feels like something truly original. Mira T. Lee's voice is not reassuring or simple; it is alive, worthy of pursuit and concentration... The unlikeliness of the novel's events, each one presented with supreme authorial confidence, recalls Ann Patchett, except the style is jolted upward by several thousand volts. Everything Here is Beautiful is a novel to savor, and Mira T. Lee is a novelist to watch." (Full review)
"Lee's prose is economical, sharp, and piercing... How does a family battle with mental illness? In Everything Here is Beautiful, the strategies are neither perfect nor expected nor do they yield the best results. In this manner, Lee has managed to write a book that feels wholly alive." (Full review)
What To Read This Week
"Mira T. Lee's debut novel is so raw and acutely human, it's the kind of book you want to get lost in and just go along for the emotional ride... It's a thoughtful and beautifully crafted book, both inside and out, and one you'll feel proud kicking off the New Year having read."
Most Anticipated: The Great 2018 Book Preview
"...this novel never flinches."
The 33 Most Exciting Books of 2018
"...an incredibly moving and thoughtful exploration of mental illness and its toll on family and loved ones."
35 Most Anticipated Fiction Books Of 2018 To Get You Pumped For A New Year Of Reading
"This exquisite book is one that will hurtle past all your expectations."
The Most Anticipated Fiction Books of 2018
"This elegant debut is about the enduring bond of family and a delicately drawn portrayal of mental illness."
The Short List: Five Books That Won't Disappoint
"Great for book club."
What We're Reading
"Lee's debut is a profoundly relatable drama about how far you would, or should, go for family."
60 Books We Can't Wait To Read In 2018
"...a wholly original exploration of sisterly bonds."
Twenty-Five Things to See, Hear, Watch, and Read
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8 New Books You Need to Read This January
The Best Books of 2018 (so far)
33 Books to Get Excited About in 2018
This Week's Must-Read Books
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Publishers Marketplace selects EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL as one of its Fall/Winter 2017 Buzz Books.
"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 Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You
"Everything Here is Beautiful is a stunning and unforgettable book filled with voices that resonate and haunt. Mira T. Lee has written a story big enough to hold entire worlds, interior and exterior, with authenticity and compassion. At the same time she tells 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
"Charismatic and electrifying. Lee refuses the simple glamour of madness and makes vivid the actual costs of mental illness, the messiness of life, 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 and The Girls from Corona del Mar
"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 and Girl In Translation
"This book took my breath away. Lee has an incredible gift for empathy--I found myself rooting for, and caring deeply about, all of the 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
"Mira T. 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
"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 of 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 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
"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
Thurs, February 15, 2018, 7pm
With ANNE RAEFF, author of WINTER KEPT US WARM
Books Inc, 74 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto, CA
Mon, February 19, 2018, 7pm
In conversation with MARK LUKACH, author of MY LOVELY WIFE IN THE PSYCH WARD
Orinda Books, 276 Village Square, Orinda, CA
Fri, February 23, 2018, 7:30pm
STORIES ON STAGE
Auditorium at CLARA (the E Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts), 1425 24th Street, Sacramento, CA
Suggested donation, $10
Thurs, March 1, 2018, 7pm
In conversation with ANNIE HARTNETT, author of RABBIT CAKE
Belmong Books, 79 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA
Fri, March 2, 2018, 7pm
Book Club discussion hosted by Robin and Emily Homonoff
West Elm, Providence, RI
Tues, March 6, 2018, 2:30pm
Palm Beach County Library, Lantana Branch
4020 Lantana Rd, Lake Worth, FL
Tues, March 6, 2018, 8pm
Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL
Thurs, March 15, 2018, 7:30pm
Pete's Candy Store Reading Series, 709 Lorimer St, Brooklyn
Tues, March 20, 2018, 7pm
Barrington Books, 184 County Rd, Barrington, RI
Weds, March 28, 2018, 12pm
Literary Lunch, in conversation with LILY KING, author of EUPHORIA
Portland Main Library, 5 Monument Square, Portland, ME
Sat, April 14, 2018
Palm Beach Book Festival
Thurs, April 26, 2018, 7pm
With AKWAEKE EMEZI, author of FRESHWATER
Asian American Writers Workshop, 110-112 W. 27 St, Suite 600
New York, NY
Sat, April 28, 2018, 1pm
With REBECCA KAUFFMAN, author of THE GUNNERS
Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Tues, May 1, 2018, 7pm
Craft on Draft
Trident Booksellers & Cafe, 338 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Sunday, October 15, 2017, 10-11am
Stanford Reunion: Asian American Alumni Authors
Reading with fellow alumni authors Vanessa Hua, Minal Hajratwala, and Jane Lin.
Tues, January 16, 2018, 6-8pm
POINT STREET READING SERIES, $5
Alchemy, 71 Richmond St, 2nd Floor, Providence, RI
Fri, January 19, 2018, 7-8pm
EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL Book Launch!
Presented with GrubStreet
In conversation with LISA MILLER, New York Magazine
Harvard Book Store, 1256 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA
Weds, February 7, 2018, 7-8pm
In conversation with JANE MARTIN, NAMI-Cambridge/Middlesex
Porter Square Books, 25 White St, Cambridge, MA
Mon, February 12, 2018, 7pm
LITERATURE LOVERS' NIGHT OUT
with Cynthia Swanson, David Housewright, & Gregory Blake Smith
Trinity Episcopal Church, 322 2nd St, Excelsior, MN
Tues, February 13, 2018, 7pm
LITERATURE LOVERS' NIGHT OUT
with Cynthia Swanson, David Housewright, & Gregory Blake Smith
Grand Banquet Hall - 301 2nd St S, Stillwater, MN
Mira T. Lee's debut novel, Everything Here is Beautiful, was selected as an Indies Introduce title (Top 10 Debut for 2018) and Indie Next pick by the American Booksellers Association, and named a Top Winter/2018 Pick by more than 30 news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, O Magazine, Poets & Writers, New York magazine, Chicago Review of Books, Seattle Times, Buzzfeed, Marie Claire, Real Simple, and Electric Lit, among others. Her short fiction has appeared in journals such as the Southern Review, the Gettysburg Review, the Missouri Review, Triquarterly, Harvard Review, and American Short Fiction, and has twice received special mention for the Pushcart Prize. She has been the recipient of an Artist's Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Missouri Review's Peden Prize.
In her previous lives, Mira has also been known as a graphic designer, a pop-country drummer, a salsa dancing fanatic, and a biology graduate student. Mira is an alum of Stanford University, and currently lives in Cambridge, MA.
Essays & Interviews
Tin House: On Arriving at This Novel "About" Mental Illness
LitHub: Lifting Up Overlooked Authors: On Craft, Identity, and Insecurities. Debut Author Mira T. Lee In Conversation with Celeste Ng
Asian-American Writers Workshop, The Margins: Creating as you go, an interview with Mira T. Lee
Bloom: Everything Here is Beautiful: Q & A with Mira T. Lee
Boston Globe: Bibliophiles: Stories that inhabit gray areas attract Mira T. Lee
Los Angeles Review of Books: Multiculturalism and Mental Illness: An Interview With Mira T. Lee
WBUR's Radio Boston: Novelist Mira T. Lee On Responsibility And Loyalty Among Sisters
Leslie Lindsay: Weekend Reading with Mira T. Lee
Shelf Awareness: The Many Perspectives of Mental Illness
F(r)iction: An Interview with Mira T. Lee
Library Journal: Debut Spotlight
Massachusetts Cultural Council: ArtSake Blog
Deborah Kalb: Q & A with Mira T. Lee
Mira is available for speaking engagements at literary events and conferences, and with book clubs, mental health groups, and advocacy campaigns.
Writers House LLC
21 W. 26th Street, New York, NY 10010
Penguin Random House
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mira's recs & faves
Light In August (William Faulkner), Laughable Loves (Milan Kundera), Exit West (Mohsin Hamid), My Name Is Lucy Barton (Elizabeth Strout), My Brilliant Friend (Elena Ferrante), You Are Not A Stranger Here (Adam Haslett), The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini),The Association of Small Bombs (Karan Mahajan), A Visit From the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan), Tenth of December (George Saunders), Let the Great World Spin (Collum McCann), Eleven Hours (Pamela Erens), The Sweet Hereafter (Russell Banks), Difficult Loves (Italo Calvino), Empire Falls (Richard Russo), short stories by William Trevor, Amy Hempel, Raymond Carver,The Trumpet of the Swan (E.B. White), The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster), Gerald and Piggy books by Mo Willems
tv, movies, podcasts
S-Town (podcast), This American Life (podcast), Startup (podcast), Serial (podcast), The Florida Project, Transparent, Downton Abbey, The Wire, Homeland, Friday Night Lights, Six Feet Under, Getting On, Sex and the City, You Can Count On Me, Y Tu Mama Tambien, About Schmidt, Manchester-By-The-Sea, Sing!, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, A Separation, The Guns of Navarone, The Sound of Music, Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance, The Daily Show
round bales of hay, big yellow heavy machinery, the understated, wise people, strange places, light, typography, dance, quarter notes on the ride cymbal, rivets, labradoodles, a close game of Scrabble, total absorption, grapefruit scents, Little League baseball, the sound of ball bearings swishing around in a wide bottomed glass
fiction & memoirs that deal with mental illness
Imagine Me Gone (Adam Haslett, 2016), Dear Fang, With Love (Rufi Thorpe 2016), Challenger Deep (Neal Shusterman, YA, 2015), All the Bright Places (Jennifer Niven, YA, 2015), The Shock of the Fall (Nathan Filer, 2013), You Are Not A Stranger Here (Adam Haslett, 2002), I Know This Much Is True (Wally Lamb, 1998), I Never Promised You a Rose Garden ( Joanne Greenberg, 1964), The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath, 1963).
No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America (Ron Powers, 2017), My Lovely Life in the Psych Ward (Mark Lukach, 2017), A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy (Sue Klebold, 2016), The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (Elyn Saks, 2007), Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness (Pete Earley, 2006), Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia (Pamela Spiro Wagner, Carolyn Spiro, 2005), Angelhead: My Brother's Descent Into Madness (Greg Bottoms, 2000), Imagining Robert: My Brother, Madness, and Survival, A Memoir - Jay Neugeboren (1997), An Unquiet Mind (Kay Redfield Jamison, 1996), Girl, Interrupted (Susanna Kaysen, 1994)