“Everything I Never Told You,” the début novel by author Celeste Ng, tells of the tragedy that strikes the Lee family when their 16-year-old daughter Lydia goes missing one morning. The author effortlessly weaves in the back story of the parents, a cross-cultural couple that encounters prejudice both within their family and at Harvard, where the couple met. Things are no better in small-town Ohio, where they move in the late 1950s.
This book was recently chosen as Amazon’s best book of 2014. It topped the list of 100 Good Reads, which included fiction and non-fiction works, selected by editors at the online retailer.
The writing in this is beautiful. There are no shocking or huge revelations as usual ‘family dramas’ do have, but the author is still able to enthrall the reader throughout the story. Each family member’s story is deep and detailed, allowing us to see why each one behaves the way they do. Truly heartbreaking.
This book snuck up on me; I wasn’t convinced it would rise above the predictable but I think it really does. The portraits of each character are totally convincing and their efforts to communicate are moving, sad and believable. A surprisingly original variation on a family tragedy.
I have to agree with Amazon, this is one of the best books I have read all year.
Celeste Ng is a winner of the Hopwood Award and a recipient of the Pushcart prize. Her work has been featured in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, the Kenyon Review Online, and other publications.