Author(s): Celeste Ng
"Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet" . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, 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 center of every party. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family--Hannah--who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened. A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, "Everything I Never Told You" is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
Alexander Chee, "The New York Times Book Review" "If we know this story, we haven't seen it yet in American fiction, not until now... Ng has set two tasks in this novel's doubled heart--to be exciting, and to tell a story bigger than whatever is behind the crime. She does both by turning the nest of familial resentments into at least four smaller, prickly mysteries full of secrets the family members won't share... What emerges is a deep, heartfelt portrait of a family struggling with its place in history, and a young woman hoping to be the fulfillment of that struggle. This is, in the end, a novel about the burden of being the first of your kind--a burden you do not always survive." "Los Angeles Times" "Excellent...an accomplished debut... heart-wrenching...Ng deftly pulls together the strands of this complex, multigenerational novel. "Everything I Never Told You" is an engaging work that casts a powerful light on the secrets that have kept an American family together--and that finally end up tearing it apart." "Boston Globe" "Wonderfully moving...Emotionally precise...A beautifully crafted study of dysfunction and grief...[This book] will resonate with anyone who has ever had a family drama." "San Francisco Chronicle" "A subtle meditation on gender, race and the weight of one generation's unfulfilled ambitions upon the shoulders--and in the heads--of the next... Ng deftly and convincingly illustrates the degree to which some miscommunications can never quite be rectified." "O, The Oprah Magazine" "Cleverly crafted, emotionally perceptive... Ng sensitively dramatizes issues of gender and race that lie at the heart of the story... Ng's themes of assimilation are themselves deftly interlaced into a taut tale of ever deepening and quickening suspense." "Los Angeles Review of Books" "Ng moves gracefully back and forth in time, into the aftermath of the tragedy as well as the distant past, and into the con
Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. She attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in "One Story," "TriQuarterly," "Bellevue Literary Review," the "Kenyon Review Online," and elsewhere, and she is the recipient of the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.