Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet.
This is the first sentence to Celeste Ngs debut novel and it already draws you in. Everything I Never Told You tells the story of a chinese-american family in the 1970s. On May 3, 1977, the sixteen-year-old Lydia doesnt come to breakfast. One day after her corpse is found in a near lake. Now the question, everybody tries to... This is the first sentence to Celeste Ngs debut novel and it already draws you in. Everything I Never Told You tells the story of a chinese-american family in the 1970s. On May 3, 1977, the sixteen-year-old Lydia doesnt come to breakfast. One day after her corpse is found in a near lake. Now the question, everybody tries to find the answer to, is: Was it suicide or murder? This novel is about the mourning family members, Lydias parents, her older brother Nath and her younger sister Hanna, and how they deal with their loss, their feelings about Lydia and her unfortunate death. A large part of the plot tells the past of each family member. The reader gets to know more about the parents, Marilyn and James Lee, how they got to know each other and their life before and after their children were born. We learn Naths theory about who killed his sister and about little Hanna, who knows more than anybody suspects. The story travels between present and past in easy circles and the truth about Lydias life, her emotions and her feelings about being the centre of her parents universe, steadily unravels itself. Until the reader, and only the reader, discovers at the end of the book what really happened in Lydias last night alive. I, personally, loved Celeste Ngs writing style. The chapters were very long but it wasnt a problem because it was so effortlessly to read and I flew through the pages. When I started this book I honestly didn't expect that it would be so heart-wrenching. Although at the beginning I was sceptical if I would like the parts about the family's past, I really enjoyed these segments in the second half of the book. The ending was beautiful and heart-breaking at once. I am really glad I picked this book up.
Everything I Never Told You
'There is much here that might impress Pulitzer and Man Booker judges...Ng brilliantly depicts the destruction that parents can inflict on their children and on each other' Mark Lawson, Guardian
Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue - in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the centre of every party. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio. Her father is an American born of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous in any setting.
When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest in the family - Hannah - who observes far more than anyone realises and who may be the only one who knows what really happened.
And if you loved Everything I Never Told You, don't miss Celeste Ng's second novel Little Fires Eveywhere, now available
What readers are saying:
'Devastating...A truly tragic but devastatingly well written book'
'Ng is a true craftsman. I implore you to read this. Also my favourite ending of a novel so far this year'
'This is the best book I have read this year'
'Really enjoyed this book, deeply moving, sad and thought provoking'
This intriguing tale of unhappy families will have you gripped from the opening line . . . No wonder it beat Hilary Mantel and Stephen King to win Amazon's book of the year Stylist