Summaries and reviews of fiction and nonfiction books by Korean American authors,
books about Korean Americans and Korea, and Korean literature in English translation,
including some academic works and a sampling on the Korean War
Monday, November 7, 2011
Miles from Nowhere, by Nami Mun
With stunning prose and a sensitive eye for detail, Mun unfolds five years from age 14 in the gritty and difficult life of a young Korean American runaway on the urban streets. Not only does Joon quickly lose her innocence and succumb to the seemingly soothing beguile of drugs, leading to heroin addiction, she must fight for a lost identity as she attempts to reconcile being the daughter of an abusive and abandoning father, and a neglectful and strangely behaving mother who only has eyes for the father. Though what Joon lives through and what she remembers is horrific and exactly as awful as one imagines such a hardscrabble life can be, Mun's unsentimental take on it and her stunning prose that reaches deep into the core questions of what makes us continue when so much is lost, when even the self is seemingly without redemption, is what makes this book a breathtaking reward.