Everything Here Is Beautiful

An expansion of a short story published in the Missouri Review, Mira T. Lee's debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful, explores the relationship between two sisters, the eldest committed to protecting her spontaneous, joyful but mentally unstable sibling.

Miranda Bok remembers coming to the United States from China with her pregnant mother, starting over in a new country without Miranda's father, who died before he could join them. Her mother always expected Miranda to look after Lucia, her seven-years-younger sister. Now grown women, their mother's death a fresh wound, the sisters try to cope with adulthood, but Lucia struggles. First, she surprises Miranda by marrying Yonah, a one-armed, functionally illiterate Russian-Israeli Jew who seems too coarse and ignorant for her sister. Nevertheless, Miranda comes to appreciate Yonah's kindness and sense of family when they become partners in caring for Lucia after the resurgence of a mental illness that plagued her in college.

Following a failed hospitalization, Lucia leaves Yonah, who does not want children, to have a baby with Manny, a young Ecuadorian immigrant. In the years that follow, Miranda tries to maintain her own carefully orchestrated life with her husband in Switzerland, while keeping a watchful eye over Lucia through Manny. Spread across the world, the family struggles to find beauty amid the chaos wrought by Lucia's episodes of mental illness and impulsiveness, sometimes related, always difficult to separate.

Like Miriam Toews's All My Puny SorrowsEverything Here Is Beautiful is filled with unexpected, fragile moments of beauty. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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