In Celeste Ng’s debut novel Everything I Never Told You, the story of the Lee family unfolds like the petals of a flower. Lydia is dead, that we know, and the story of her family, their grief, and their undoing unfurls slowly, with pathos and grit alike. Chapters from Lydia’s own childhood, her parents as young people, her siblings and their own lives — all of these are twined inexorably together, as all families’ are. Ng pulls together the experience of being an outsider deftly with a multi-layered coming-of-age story that resonated with me deeply. There was not a single character I wasn’t rooting for by the end.
We all have inner lives, and we all carry wounds that make us fragile, even if they are invisible to the naked eye. The saga of the Lee family brings that home with quiet power, drawing us through a gripping page-turner of a story that sears, comforts, and ultimately shows how even the darkest hours can led us to a semblance of redemption. Highly recommend.