Mira T. Lee’s debut novel, “Everything Here is Beautiful,” tells the story of two sisters, Miranda and Lucia, whose relationship is strained by the latter’s severe mental illness. Lucia is very bright and aspires to be a globetrotter journalist, but she periodically lapses into episodes of psychosis.
Lee shares a selection from the novel in which Lucia describes the first time she remembers experiencing symptoms of her illness. She was looking at Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” in the Museum of Modern Art, when the painting seemed to come alive before her eyes: “The colors bubbled like something alien, and the girl’s body parts came to life! First her breasts jiggled, like ornaments on a Christmas tree, then her stomach growled, then half her cubist face laughed openly at me while the other half distorted into a leer.”
Lee explains why she chose to write about this particular painting and what it came to represent for her book.