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Book Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

“At last something important had occurred, something that she ought to write down. But she did not know how to explain what had happened, how everything had changed in just one day, how someone she loved so dearly could be there one minute, and the next minute: gone.” ― Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You

4 ****

As is the case with many writers of literary fiction, I admire their eloquence and Ng is truly in possession of a beautiful grasp of language.Yet there is also frequently an emotional distance, which I find difficult to overcome and which renders many books in this genre, including this one, not entirely satisfying. I was left impressed with Ng, as well as frustrated. The story is so very melancholy, and she allows the reader to witness some truly intimate moments in the lives of the characters, and still I felt kept at arm's length. I was in the room with the characters, but could not feel their despair, their anger and confusion if that makes any sense. It all felt a little cold, almost like a clinical dissection of grief, of the dissolution of a family. The writing is, at times, exquisite and for that alone I would suggest giving this book a try, but when I turned the final page, I was left dissatisfied and not quite able to articulate why. I will probably read Ng's other book Little Fires Everywhere at some point, but I can't say I am racing out to get my copy having read Everything I Never Told You.