'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
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'
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Celeste Ng’s debut novel is a subtle and deeply moving family thriller. A Chinese-American family in suburban Ohio endures a tragedy when 16-year-old free spirit Lydia Lee—their beloved (and favourite) child—goes missing. From here, Ng slowly draws back the curtain on the Lee family. While the truth behind Lydia’s disappearance is shocking, Everything I Never Told You isn’t a sensationalist murder mystery. Set in the ‘70s, it’s a graceful study of one family’s experiences as they’re affected by racism, gender identity and emotional turmoil.
This emotionally involving debut novel explores themes of belonging using the story of the death of a teenage girl, Lydia, from a mixed-race family in 1970s Ohio. Lydia is the middle and favorite child of Marilyn Walker, a white Virginian, and James Lee, a first-generation Chinese-American. Marilyn and James meet in 1957, when she is a premed at Radcliffe and he, a graduate student, is teaching one of her classes. The two fall in love and marry, over the objections of Marilyn's mother, whose comment on their interracial relationship is succinct: "It's not right." Marilyn gets pregnant and gives up her dream of becoming a doctor, devoting her life instead to raising Lydia and the couple's other two children, Nathan and Hannah. Then Marilyn abruptly moves out of their suburban Ohio home to go back to school, only to return before long. When Lydia is discovered dead in a nearby lake, the family begins to fall apart. As the police try to decipher the mystery of Lydia's death, her family realize that they didn't know her at all. Lydia is remarkably imagined, her unhappy teenage life crafted without an ounce of clich . Ng's prose is precise and sensitive, her characters richly drawn.