Friday, December 19, 2008

a review of Miles from Nowhere

Miles From Nowhere by Nami Mun

NYC of the 1980's, and specifically the world we will see through the eyes of Joon, the central character of this book, is a harsh and brutal world. When her family falls apart, her father leaving once again and her mentally ill mother unable to cope, and she unable to cope with her mother, 13 year old Korean-American Joon becomes a runaway and takes to the streets. As we share episodic glimpses into her life over the next 5 years, we enter the world she attempts to survive in, a world of prostitution, violence, crime and drugs. And we come to know the colorful cast of friends and acquaintances she meets along the way, sometimes frightening, sometimes amusing...always quite sad.

It is a bleak world that she enters and in a way, her journey is rather fascinating and seems quite realistically depicted. One would think that might makes this a very depressing book, but actually it is not. Part of that is because Joon is a sympathetic character who is well portrayed by the author. Even as things become more desperate...and some incidents are really quite hard to read...Joon comes across as an intelligent girl, serious and hopeful about finding a way out. Does she?...well, you will have to read the book to discover that for yourself.

I would recommend this book...with some reservations. At times, some of the incidents can be rather funny, but overall the tone of the story is quite desolate and cheerless. Rather like the cover. And there is a certain quality of detachment and spareness about the writing that makes me care about what happens to Joon...but just not care a great deal. After awhile, I felt like a rather distant observer, and quite honesty rather happy for the distance.

I found it ultimately a hopeful story, but be warned it entailed a journey across a blighted, grim landscape.

Available From Amazon December 26, 2008


  1. I don't know what to think about this one. I've read other reviews that said they really liked the book, except for the ending, which they hated.

  2. I didn't love it..but I liked it...and I actually liked the ending! From other reviews, it seems they thought the ending was too 'subtle'...which I disagree with.

    I am going to change my blog title to The Contrary Review... ;-)

  3. I like what you said about the detachment--how you cared about what happened to Joon, but not too much. I felt that way, too. Maybe that's why the somewhat ambiguous ending didn't bother me as much as it did others.

  4. I am always so happy when someone agrees with

    I think the sort of detached tone worked when describing the events of the story..otherwise it would have been oppressive...but perhaps my feeling about Joon are the price paid for that.

  5. It was pretty aimless, which I'm sure was intentional. I think it was a good book, just not a MUST READ.

  6. I stopped reading when she jumped off the ferry (while she was pregnant). I guess that's about 160 pages. This is probably the only book I've walked away from without ever wanting to pick it up again.

  7. looking back on it now, it is a book that really left no impression. not a good thing.


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