Center for New Words; WGBH Forum Network; Nami Mun: Miles from Nowhere
This is Miss Moon's first novel but she has been at the craft for quite some time. Miss Moon got her MFA from the University of Michigan where she went to Hopwood our ward for fiction and the Farrar Prize for drama. She also won a Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared in the Iowa review Tin House and the Evergreen Review and she teaches fiction writing at Columbia College in Chicago. And today the reason why we're here is because Mrs. Munt has written an exceptional novel. It follows June a Korean-American 13 year old as she embarks on a poetic and gritty journey of homelessness and Coming of Age in the context of the 1980s Bronx. The Chicago US has written that this is a dark novel but one that ultimately gives hope for redemption. The novel has been called in turn radical and admirable. And Miss Moon has been named easily one of the most important new talents in American fiction. No small feat. So to be able to tell a story of a marginalized urban teenager of color when we rarely get to hear the voice of Asian Americans enter the mainstream at all. It's filling a true void in American literature and I am thrilled to see a Miss Moon do it with such
seeming ease of craft. Please welcome mommy room. Thank you so much for coming out tonight especially on such a cold night and everyone keeps on blaming me because I live in Chicago and everyone keeps on saying that I brought the weather here. I think you guys have bad weather on your own right. OK OK I'm going to. Can you guys hear me OK I have a tendency to read a little quietly. I'm going to. So this book is called miles from nowhere and it's about June. She's a Korean American teenager and she leaves her home and her family for good. When she's 13 and I guess she goes through some struggles I guess you can say. And the section that I'm going to read for you tonight. She's
been on the streets for about three years now and she's starting to welcome one in one. She's hearing me. Oh yeah. Hey my former student what she's doing is starting to sort of miss the mother that she's left behind. And I guess all you need to know is that it's actually set in 1980s New York. OK. And this section is called with a boy. If you can ignore my nervousness that would be great. OK. I lived on the sixth floor of an abandoned building where the boy who worked like me blew fly with his sunny hair and blue eyes sold himself mostly. He stayed away for days.
One time a whole week and he almost always came back with money and a boil somewhere on his body. When he wasn't hooking or shooting heroin he snuck clothes out of lawns or laundromats and sold them on sidewalks miles away with a cardboard poster that said garage sale moving to Alaska. He stole everything all the time. And the closer we got the more he stole from me. He had a thing for keys and my money. But being with him was easy and once in a while we loved each other as if God himself had taught us how. But then the accident happened. He was on the floor cooking his spoon over the sterno can and I was mad because he said there was only enough for him that half would do neither of us any good. He tapped his favorite being the one he called the Great Wall of China
and I kicked a sterno out from under him. He should have moved. Most people would have. But he was so focused on his arm so stubborn about rolling his eyes backwards and falling into the rush. He didn't care about the small fire clinging to his leg. His back slipped against the wall his eyes turned to worms. I stood there watching him nodding and half swatting his calf before realizing that maybe I should help you. At the hospital under the white lights and in front of a pretty nurse with tired eyes blue fly spit in my face. His leg was what bandaged and slung up by the ankle and the nurse was touching his knee in a way I didn't much like. Then Blue called me a useless stupid cunt. I was relieved that he was finally
talking to me but instead of saying that I punched him in the stomach and called him a faggot junkie you sell your asshole. I screamed. Which made the nurse hold her hands up at me. That's it. Visiting hours over she said pushing me out the door. I told her she should hold onto her keys. In the hallway I walk past the line of beds with sick people. There are gowns too thin to hide their fears. I wasn't bothered by the honesty of it all. My mom worked as a midnight nurse at a very busy hospital. Once when I was young I asked her what she did for a living. She told me she saved people. She didn't care about. That night I slept on the train until a cop poked me with a stick. I got up said sorry to his baton and switched trains
then switched again until it finally turned morning at rush hour. I started work as usual. Me I didn't sell myself. I sold newspapers. Not like a paper route where you hopped on your bike at six in the morning. But like fishing out pages from the trash can and selling them on the trains when metro cops weren't looking. The key was to screen the pages good. Make sure there weren't any coffee blots or footprints. It was a job I didn't beg panhandling was for losers. On good days I could make eight or ten bucks and sometimes people handed money over without even taking a page or maybe thinking their donation would keep their kids from turning out like me. After picking through a few bins I stepped into a packed car. The morning was hot and gluey and people on the train looked to be heading to a
funeral. Their heads too heavy for their shoulders. Even the air felt they were harder to swallow. I held up a page and squeezed between sweating bodies my elbow rubbing against the backs of business suits selling news about Mark David Chapman sentencing gets 20 years to life. I yelled over the train noise. No one looked up. Reid's Catcher In The Rye in court. I said tapping the page. But still nobody heard me. A chill spread up my neck and behind my ears making me salivate. My stomach cramped. I hadn't had a hit in two days. If you don't count shooting up water and my body felt invaded by electric eels looking for more space I moved to the back. Love pulled the trigger. I said under my breath suddenly wanting to give up everything I've ever
known for an empty see or to see blue in my head. I spelled out his name over and over but then wasn't sure if I'd been talking out loud. The car smelled of cooked cheese. The weight of others kept me standing. As I closed my eyes and imagine giant hands wringing my body clean. It had been a while since I had taken a day off. I thought about playing hooky maybe taking a trip out to the ocean. I could take the train there and ride like a regular passenger like everybody else except I'd smile at people and pretend I was their summer son. I threw up in the station bathroom. It's splattered everywhere. Some of it hitting the toilet water and splashing back on to my face. I rinsed off and one of those sinks that had a single faucet you push to get water
making it impossible to wash your face using both hands. With my shirt sleeve I wiped off a mere tact with so much graffiti I couldn't see any of me. Later that day while working you're the token booth. I saw them. The nurse from the hospital with blue fly. They passed me and didn't even notice she had her arm around him and even though they were a few people ahead of me I could tell he wasn't limping anymore. The bitch nurse had healed his leg already. I couldn't stand the thought of Blue going to this woman's home all this time. I thought he only did men old ugly men with warts on their fingers. But now I saw You've been cheating on me all along. From her he get money food new clothes and who knew what else. Maybe even a car.
She probably had a pool. Under the exit sign she stopped to run her fingers through his hair just above the back of his neck. That's when I decided to follow them. Outside. The sun was so bright you couldn't even see it and the heat dried the blood in my veins making me want to dig them out with my fingernails. But I was freezing too. I hugged myself and sweated and followed them anyway. Down a busy street dotted with garbage bags a quieter street bouncing with a game of stickball a block of skinny houses a row of hedges then into a short driveway lined with potted plants. And it wasn't until I found a safe spot behind a tree in her backyard that I realized that the boy wasn't blue. He was actually someone I'd never seen in my life. His hair wasn't even blonde.
Through the sliding glass doors I watched the nurse talking to this boy who I now guessed was her son. Although she looked too young to be his mother they talked for a while and she opened and closed the refrigerator door setting food on the counter. I imagine their conversation to be very boring. Then for no good reason the boy came outside. I ducked down behind a tree. Hello. His voice came closer. Who's there. Closing my eyes seem like the thing to do. Hello. He said again and I made myself smaller squeezing my eyes tighter. I'm standing right in front of you know. A tall skinny boy who wasn't more than 12 student front of me all right holding a Rubik's cube. I couldn't believe I thought he was blue.
There's an oriental girl in our yard. Mom. And I thought about telling him that I was at the wrong house but decided to just head for the gate. It was too late though. The nurse came out dish towel over one shoulder tilting her head she trying to remember me trying to place me between good and evil. I think she's a street person mom. Alex please. Well she could be. Maybe she doesn't speak English he said and shouted. Are you homeless. In a strange way I like the way he was talking to me. He was so interested like I was a science project he truly believed in. I didn't say a word though. Afraid I might break the spell. Maybe we should bring er in he said.
In the shower I uncapped all the different shampoos the nurse owned and sniffed each and every one of them. One was called Monterey mist. Another Australian kiwi. The smells made me hungry. I was getting ready to lather up the wash claws when I hand poked through the curtains. Here she said handing me a kitchen sponge. You can use this. I took it held it flat in my hand. I wondered if it was new or little used or if any of that mattered. The sponge made me think of something that happened on a train a while back. A woman had still sat staring up at me in a way I was sure was rude. She had dry hair and small bird eyes and was wearing a T-shirt that said number one Nana and glitter paint. I decided
she was an unhappy person but not knowing what to make of her really. I asked if she wanted a page. She said nothing and kept staring there today's pages. I told her and showed her one but her eyes wouldn't blink. I wanted to snap her head off. You can't die from talking to me I whispered to her. And as if someone had put coins into her slot. Her face cringed. I was winning. She was going to speak. Her lips were going to move and she was going to talk to me as if I were a real person and I was ready to prove to her that she wasn't better just better off. You smell she said. The nurse had put out a shirt. Hospital pants and mismatched socks on top of the toilet seat without drying off. I jumped into the
clothes and wiped the steam off the mirror so I could see the new me. The hair was tangled and everything fit a little loose but I wish Blue was there. In the kitchen. She stood over the stove stirring ketchup into a pan of meat. Hi I said from the other side of the counter. Christ she scared me. I apologized. The light above her drew tired shadows on her face. I wanted to thank her right then to tell her that no stranger had ever been this good to me. But then we both sort of looked away and the moment turned old. She pulled out a bottle from the freezer and made herself a drink. Where's your kid. I asked. He's at the neighbors. She took a sip and folded her arms. How was the shower.
Good that's good she said. The shampoos were real nice. She rearranged a magnet on the fridge or used those. Good I'm glad. How does blue fly. I asked who my boyfriend at the hospital. Oh that's why I know you from your. What's his face. Walter's friend. I didn't think she deserved to know his real name. He's good she said. At least when I left Timmy was. On the side of the fridge hung a calendar of famous nurses that month was missed. Dorothea Dix a Civil War nurse. You know my mom's a. I stopped talking because the woman dumped her drink into a blender and pushed a button and then another. Got to ask you stay for dinner but I'm sorry did you say something.
That's OK. I'm actually not that hungry. I should get going I said opening the sliding glass door. And how about some money. She looked around the kitchen do you want some money from under the counter. She pulled out a yellow pages and opened it to a sections stuffed with bills. Should I only have six dollars. I told her it was OK that I didn't want any. What are you talking about. She put the six bucks on the counter between us and I noticed that her hand was shaking. I give you more but who the hell knows where my purse is she said her hand clutching a clump of her bangs. My whole life was in there. After I left the woman's house I went to the hospital where my mother worked from behind a bush. I watched cars pull up the circular driveway and carry the sick home. The cheery light on top of an ambulance spun in
the dark and the hospital windows turned black. One by one as I waited for almost an hour it was close to midnight when my mom finally came. I only saw her a few seconds killing the cigarette on the sidewalk brushing something off her uniform before walking through the automatic doors and then down a green striped hallway. She hadn't changed much since I had left her almost three years ago. Her hair was still short still blunt still black but maybe it was somebody else it could have been. I don't know. Blue was asleep when I got home that night. I reached up and turned on the flashlight he had rigged so it hung from the ceiling. The floor turned into a pale yellow egg and the light made pretty everything it touched. An open can of ravioli. The bandage just below his
knee a green leather purse. He'd fallen asleep in his underwear. The gears still in his arm. I knelt down and pulled it out as slowly as I could but it wasn't easy. His skin and pus had dried around the needle. I need come back he said with a sleepy smile. I loved him so much then. Anything left for me. I asked. He pushed himself up slowly and kissed me on the lips. Yeah he said and I leaned back against the wall feeling my new clean body sink through the plaster as he rolled up my sleeve and placed this arm under mine that are right. He asked tightening the belt finding the right notch flicking the needle then smoothing the skin on my arm up and down. Always so good at tracing my wire always so good at taking me home.
I close my eyes and thought about the mother and the Son and the train and the train and how one day could expand into a lifetime then shrink again into one single moment. Ready asked and pushed. Before I could answer. Thank you. Thank you. I always get really hot when I'm nervous and I want to take off my jacket. Thanks again for coming out and I'm more than happy to answer any questions you guys might have. I know it's always awkward to ask a stranger a bunch of questions. So I came up with some subject topics if you want to. You can ask me questions about the book obviously about writing because I know that there are some writers out there and you can ask me questions
about my Tor I've got some crazy things happen on my tour. Or just about anything. And you really it was all nervous. Yes. Oh you know I went to school with Celeste at University of Michigan and you know actually the first I think I have to admit that I really love the short story format. That's my default mode. I think it's such a beautiful structure and you know I like having to choose just the right words for the short story. Not that novelists don't do that but. But I started with the club Orchid which is a chapter in my novel and that was originally a self-contained piece. And then then I wrote another story because I I felt like June was an interesting voice I really liked her. And then I wrote another so I had three stories and eventually I realized that there were roughly some of these things
were in common in that each story dealt with her working some strange bizarre job of trying to make money and trying to get off the streets. And so even though I really like the fact that they were self-contained I I could say I felt that I could spend a lot more time with her. And so I decided to think of a larger narrative about her life on the streets for five years. And I really wanted these self-contained pieces to work like Coggs toward this larger narrative. And so I mean as far as like labels go I never really liked labels that much. I mean even to me as a human being I don't really like being labeled you know Korean Korean American and it's just that you know I'm just me and I think in some ways I see this book as a hybrid of me so you know it's it's a novel in the sense that it has a larger narrative. It's a collection of short stories if you want because each Not every single piece but most of the pieces can be
self-contained. I like to think of it as an episodic novel but I don't think it rolls off the tongue as nicely. But it's been called so many things of people rescued SpinCo And yet you know I don't really care what you call it as long as you like the book and like to you know I know this sounds really corny so please excuse me I am slightly corny person but I have to admit I like the voice of June just it's just kind of came to me. I really like her especially in club orchid where she says she's working as a dance hostess. I don't know if you guys know what dance hostesses Does anyone know what that is contrary to what you might think. It has nothing to do with stripping or taking one's clothes off. It's actually it's a job that has most more to do with empathy and keeping. Lonely men company I guess. And so she does that in that in that story. And I really like her
knight she's and her voice is especially in that chapter really naive and kind of vulnerable. But that voice trying to describe a really adult setting created this really nice conflict on the page and it seemed so awkward for her to try and describe some of the debauchery that goes on in that club. So that's when I decided that you know there was some there was something powerful there. And I decided to keep it as a first person narrative. But it wasn't always easy. So the question is you know why did I write this as a memoir even though I could have made a lot of money. And my answer to that really is I never once considered it even for a second to write it as a memoir. I really think like fiction was my default mode and. And I nothing against memoirs I think they're great you know for some people but for me it's
just I like to try and describe the truth about something. But I don't really like to do it directly. I like to do it sort of indirectly by using I don't know metaphors or describing an object a certain way the weather or the temp you know I really like through dialogue and through. What the characters don't say. You know things like that I like to use all of the fiction tools to sort of try and get more of an emotional truth. As far as oh I should probably I don't know if you guys you probably you don't know me so this book is 1 percent based on real life I guess real life. I was a runaway myself I ran away from home for good when I was 13. But that's pretty much where the similarities kind of stop right there. Some of the jobs that she's held I've had I've had I used to sell Avon door to door. I was the Avon lady and I was also activities
coordinator for a nursing home. I was so not qualified for that job. I got I think I got fired in like two weeks. It was really embarrassing I had no idea what I was doing. I like elderly people that's all I know. But the events that occur in the book the scenes and dialogue that is just completely fiction I mean I went to school for fiction you know and I hope that people understand that. But I have no control over how somebody reads a book and you know as long as they find a connection to it and they can relate to June in some way and some of the other characters here I'm I'm pretty OK with that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I had I know I did a lot of research for this book. Not while I was writing it. Because when I was writing I was trying to just sort of just sort of follow the subconscious more
and get at the core of things. But after when I was revising I did a lot of research more for tone. And I had watched a lot of documentaries there's a great documentary you guys have a chance to see it it's called children underground. It's about these kids in Bucharest who need it I mean you want your class kids in Bucharest to live in the subway tunnels. And there is this is like during the Ceausescu regime where he banned abortion and so all these families were having these gigantic families and then the economy went down and suddenly they couldn't take care of them. So they weren't just runaways they were actually throwaways. And you know parents who basically opened the door and said if you don't like it here you can just get out. And these kids some were young as eight years old you know and I think the oldest in the documentary she was 16 and it just it killed me watching this. So it wasn't again the content is very different but. The tone of the piece if you watch it you'll
see that there are some like amazing magical moments that occur in these guys. You know even though they have such a harsh life and so it really wanted to incorporate how even though the world that is in my book can be can seem really ugly and kind of harsh. There are really beautiful moments in there and that's sort of the redemptive sort of hopeful quality that I hope the readers understand. So I did a lot of that I read a lot of essays on runaways throwaway sex workers especially male young male sex workers transgender. These are some of the characters in my transgendered female male to female. And I read a lot of teenagers who wrote letters while they were in shelters to their parents. Again just to sort of more for the tone and see what the attitude was like. And I was I used to be a criminal defense investigator and while I was doing that job I
definitely met a lot of different kinds of people. You know heroin addicts and you know I got to hear a lot of different kinds of voices. By the way heroin addicts are very very cool and mellow people as opposed to like crack at expand their you know I don't want people to think that all addicts are the savior you know. But yeah it's there. Was that inappropriate but I did say that. You know the question and you writers out there is when everyone goes like this you know like you know nobody wants to admit they're right or the last thing you know you're right. Oh thank you thank you for asking. Actually this is my final reading for my three week book tour. I made it. I can't believe it.
It's been like an amazing amazing really just such crazy good experience. I love all the free shampoos that you get and all the hotel rooms. You know I can't I can't help but I love it. But I guess the craziest thing that happened was OK so it was the first day of my tour. I was on a flight from Chicago to Portland and I was really really excited as my first book as my first torch was ready. You know I was just kind of amped and ready to go. I'm sitting in my seat and I had my seat belt on buckle on and then the captain comes over the announcement speaker and. I don't know about you guys but sometimes like captains have like a really sexy like silky suggestive voice you know and this one definitely it was just like he was so he was something like really calm but wanting in his voice you know there are so I mean he
came on the speaker and he said let me see if I can retain him he said. Ladies and Gentleman we're on our final descent to Portland. We'll be touching ground in 20 to 25 minutes. So if you wanted to stretch your legs or use the facilities this is a great time to do it and out. And I was sitting there going you know what. I don't even have to pee. But the way he said it was so nice it was like my bladder was intrigued by it or something. So I was like OK well that sounds like a great idea. I'm going to go to the bathroom. Even though I kind of don't need to but you know. You know I never say no to bathrooms you know I knew it. So I get out. I walk down the aisle and you know how in the back galley. It's really narrow really narrow you can have like maybe one shoulder length and have you know the wall is right there in the bathroom door you push to go inside you know.
And when INSIDE I was in there maybe 30 seconds tops I'm very quick in there you know I don't like to waste time in there. I come outside and in thinking as I came outside because as soon as I stepped out into the galley way the plane just dropped. I mean I mean I actually like my both my feet were in the air and I had time to think like oh I'm actually in the air. This is not good. It's like this weird matrix moment you know like Trinity anyway. And I crashed I crashed into the wall and hit my head. Don't be frightened. I hit my head. I crashed on to the floor. The plane dropped again. Now my entire like I'm horizontal now. My body sort of floats up and then I crash back down again and so it's really trying. That was not the scary part. The scary part was the story this is who are usually very calm
and they speak like this coffee tea sugar in the eye kind of stuff. They were actually screaming at the top of their lungs saying Everybody get down. Everybody get. And that's what freaking out the most. That these were people who were supposed to be calm and they're there panicking and I thought oh this is this is really bad. I'm still sort of I can't find a grip you know. But I sort of I kind of wedged my feet up and I sort of find a little space and then the interesting part was the entire plane you would think people would be screaming. They were it was just dead silent. You couldn't hear anything. And we all just sort of tumbling and computers were flying the coats and books and things like that. And then in this silence the phone rings in the bag and it just goes. And then it just keeps ringing. And I'm thinking OK that somebody has to get the phone because that could be the captain
calling in this could be like an important call you know and they start arguing with each other the steward. But there are like five of us on the floor now. OK stewardesses are all and four planes going up and down and. No one's going to one store to says to the other Aren't you going to get that. And then the other one says you know what if I do that I'm going to hurt myself. I can't reach the phone. Yeah but you you're closest to the phone so you should get that. And then so she just kind of like reaches like she doesn't want to get out of the plane and she finally reaches the phone. And this is the cool part she I got to hear a stewardess chew out a cap which I thought was kind of funny. She gets on that I mean I'm assuming was the captain. She said what's going on up there we're being tossed around back here or did she use some weird term I don't know like to be catch like some back wave or something like that. And then she goes.
And she just lets go of the phone just thingy thing. The plane starts even out a little bit and I was thinking wow that's weird. No one saying anything. And then the story just kind of gets up and moves she goes this is my favorite part she goes just might be a good time to run back to your seats. And she actually said Run which is OK. So we all got up we ran back to our seats from my boat you know my boat. And usually like when you hit turbulence the captain comes back on and they usually say something like you know sorry about that. We had a pocket of turbulence you nothing the captain never came back on. And I think it's because they figured it out I think it's because he had just told us that we could go walk around. And then the plane did all this crazy stuff. And I think it was like some liability thing which is why I'm not mentioning the airline name. And then so he never comes back and the stewardesses act like nothing's happened. One comes
over and she kind of very quietly whispers to me Look I saw you getting tossed around I saw you hitting your head. So I want to fill out a report. I said OK you know sure. And then thinking you know I don't really want to think about this. This is my first day on the tour I'm really excited I want to see my hotel room so I can see the free shampoos and. So and so I get out you know and they had the EMT waiting for me because you know and and I was trying to I don't know what I was I was trying to be like the Korean I don't know like Korean we're strong people. We don't need medical attention and I just didn't want to I just didn't want to deal with it. So I was like no no no really it's ok I'm I'm OK I'm a little bit vomitous. I will admit that but I'm totally OK I just need some fresh air. I'll suck it up. And they were like Are you sure. Not yet. So I walk out and I remember that I had to speak to the supervisor to file a report come back because I don't want to
leave him standing there. So then we walk out again and we were walking down the airplane you know the airport thing and then at some point I just saw the airport just sort of moving all on its own and was like oh this isn't good and my knees just kind of buckled and I just you know I had to sit. I didn't faint so I didn't I don't you think I fainted. I chose to sit down immediately. So then that happened. And then yes of the tour has been good. The funny thing is like a couple of days later I was reading in Los Angeles and I was reading like this and. There was an earthquake during my reading and I thought it was my vertigo because I had you know I was still kind of you know turned out I had a slight concussion. I talked to the doctor and everything is fine. But I thought I was experiencing Vertigo during this reading so I just kept reading I was just like just keep moving your lips. Everything will be fine. And then
turned out it was like an actual like an earthquake. Everyone was moving. So yeah it's been good. So it's really yeah exciting time for. I lost six pounds. But this is the stuff you guys have to look forward to soon. Any other questions that allows a long story you just told. Oh there's a whole nother reading you know. And the other questions are what's next. Well. The long answer is I started you know obviously not obviously I started a new project in a couple of new projects and really looking forward to working on those. But tomorrow I actually go right into teaching. I start teaching at Columbia College tomorrow so it's literally just I have to switch gears and beer. You know a strict teacher tomorrow. I'll try I don't know. But yeah I'm looking forward to teaching and I'm
looking forward to really just hoping that my next book doesn't take eight years to write I'm hoping I'm going to shoot for for just cut it in half. Yeah. But my next project is about one crime. Like I said I was a criminal defense investigator and I was really I've always been interested in criminology and I'm actually this is might be news for you guys but I'm actually thinking about studying taking some classes in forensics and such. It's about one crime but it's not necessary. I don't want to think it's a thriller. It's not a whodunit in any way whatsoever it's more about. When I was a criminal defense investigator one of the things I had to do was interview the defendant who you know couldn't afford an attorney so a public defender would be hired and then if the judge deemed that more investigations was needed then. And then I was a court appointed investigator and I realize that. You know these people are being judged by one act that they commit. And
usually it's sometimes it's like the first you know criminal act and it seemed like such a harsh. So I sort of started thinking about it in like how well it would be like if we were judged all of us by some one act that we had and how difficult that might be emotionally. So it's more about emotional culpability as a society and how we influence one another good or bad. But that's all I'm going to say about that. OK that's it. Thank you so much for coming out you guys. Thank you.
- Center for New Words
- WGBH Forum Network
- Nami Mun: Miles from Nowhere
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Nami Mun reads from her debut novel, "Miles from Nowhere". 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 13, 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.
- Episode Description
- This item is part of the Korean Americans section of the AAPI special collection.
- Literature & Philosophy
- Media type
- Moving Image
Writer: Mun, Nami
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: df153ef346ff36b5280abc9a622c63378dfb57b8 (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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- Chicago: “Center for New Words; WGBH Forum Network; Nami Mun: Miles from Nowhere,” 2009-01-21, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-4j09w09032.
- MLA: “Center for New Words; WGBH Forum Network; Nami Mun: Miles from Nowhere.” 2009-01-21. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 28, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-4j09w09032>.
- APA: Center for New Words; WGBH Forum Network; Nami Mun: Miles from Nowhere. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-4j09w09032