Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)

Article by ben

If writing a good opening--a hook--ranks among the most difficult tasks an author has, consider the ease with which Celeste Ng appears to toss off these two sentences at the beginning of her debut novel, EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU: “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” There’s loss; there’s tension between what’s known and unknown; there are questions, some dramatic (how did Lydia die?), others more banal (who are “they?”). Ng packs mystery into these two sentences with an effortlessness that seems unfair.

EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU is a tense domestic drama about Lydia’s surviving family, the Lees, whose mixed-race status makes them stand out in the 1960s and 70s. Ng uses Lydia’s death to explore headier ideas about race and gender, while familiar historical events--the launch of Gemini 9, the death of Elvis, the capture of David Berkowitz--rush past, barely noticed by the characters as they struggle with personal tragedy. Like all of us, the Lees swim in history, but what sense does any of it make when loss puts stones in our pockets and drags us under?

Everything I Never Told You: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594205712
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Penguin Press - June 26th, 2014

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