Published: September 15th, 2022
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this remarkable debut. Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.
They claim they saw nothing. She knows they’re lying.
1996 – Cabramatta, Sydney
‘Just let him go.’
Those are words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends. That night, Denny – optimistic, guileless Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, and an indifferent police force.
Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case. Even though several people were present at Denny’s murder, each bystander claims to have seen nothing, and they are all staying silent.
Determined to uncover the truth, Ky tracks down and questions the witnesses herself. But what she learns goes beyond what happened that fateful night. The silence has always been there, threaded through the generations, and Ky begins to expose the complex traumas weighing on those present the night Denny died. As she peels back the layers of the place that shaped her, she must confront more than the reasons her brother is dead. And once those truths have finally been spoken, how can any of them move on?
Cabramatta, Sydney. 1996. Seventeen-year-old Denny Tran is brutally murdered while celebrating his high school graduation with his friends. Everyone in the busy restaurant claims to have seen nothing, their fear of retribution holding the truth hostage. Denny’s older sister Ky refuses to accept their denials or the police force’s indifference and embarks on her own quest to find out what happened to her brother. But is she ready for what she will learn?
This is a truly remarkable debut. Harrowing, moving and powerful, this is the story of the aftermath of a tragedy. A tragedy shrouded in such secrecy that the truth is almost impossible to find. This isn’t a book you simply read but one where you live every grief-laden word, the loss and heartbreak so raw that it almost makes you weep. Though marketed as crime and mystery fiction, the novel has more of a literary vibe as while Denny’s murder and the mystery surrounding it are part of the essence of the book, the other topics felt more prominent in the narrative than the crime itself. I personally loved this but am aware that some hard-core thriller lovers might struggle with a more literary novel.
Exploring themes such as grief, family dynamics and cultural and societal divides alongside darker topics such as racism and prejudice, author Tracey Lien examines the Vietnamese community and how immigration to Australia affected the generations. I knew nothing about many of the topics covered in this book before reading and enjoyed being educated while I read as I think it is important to read books that expand our knowledge of the world and other cultures.
As Denny’s family try to come to terms with his death, they also struggle to fathom how this all-round good kid ended up the victim of such a vicious crime. His older sister, Ky, is our main character. Ky is feeling overwhelming guilt as she is the one who convinced her strict mother to allow Denny to attend the celebration the night he was killed and her heartache and torment is palpable. We also see how she struggles with the different way in which her Vietnamese parents grieve his loss, a cultural divide that leaves her feeling even more alone. It is just one example of the divide between immigrants and their children, who are more immersed in Australian society than their elders, and how it affects their understanding of each other.
The other characters are equally as compelling and I especially liked that the author ensured that Denny felt as real as any other character thanks to the flashbacks that are peppered throughout the narrative. His life is one that was extinguished far too soon and I mourned him, the tragedy, horror and devastating impact of his murder lingering over every page.
Complex, memorable and heart-shattering, All That’s Left Unsaid is a book I’d highly recommend. An emotional journey that I couldn’t put down, this outstanding debut highlights Tracey Lien as an author to watch and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Tracey Lien was born and raised in southwestern Sydney, Australia. She earned her MFA at the University of Kansas and was previously a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. All That’s Left Unsaid is her first novel.
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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx
Please check out the reviews from other bloggers taking part in the tour.
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