Posts Tagged 'celeste ng'

Reading: Everything I Never Told You

Complicated family relationships, like a geometry lesson, or a tiny solar system that pulls and tugs itself around one event…. I’ve come late to this book about the Lee family. Celeste Ng‘s book was a NY Times Bestseller, but I’m glad I waited to read it until I was ready for its voice.

The beginning is quietly rough, and I found myself leaping to assumptions about character motivations, which in turn made me think about stereotyping behavior. The recurring ebb and flow of loss and return gave patterns to the book (misleading or moving the plot forward). And at the end, I was left with an idea about the “why” behind the build-up of actions. I felt like time continued to float out from the end of the book, and I could see in my mind’s eye where the characters would travel.

“Years from now, they will still be arranging the pieces they know, puzzling over her features, redrawing her outlines in their mind. Sure that they’ve got her right this time…”

I’m not ready for this quiet book to end. I can still hear the voices of Lydia, Marilyn, James, Heather, Nathaniel, and Jack. Any other readers out there wondering about future revelations and paths in their live(s)?

 

 

Amazing stories

Due to travel, I managed to read some thought-provoking, wonderful books last month. My family circulates books among one another — a lending library that goes from the one side of the country to the other, then back to the middle.

One of the books I borrowed from the family “library” was Please Enjoy Your Happiness by Paul Brinkley-Rogers. Gorgeous cover on this edition published in the UK. Like many true stories, you’re left with a feeling of nebulous (did he, did she… etc.) ending. I was able to suspend my belief and to feel like I was visiting those murky days right after WWII, in Japan. And if I were in occupied Japan, how interesting it would have been to meet the main characters — the narrator, a sailor on a US ship, and Kaji, a Japanese woman who was raised in China. They’re both in love with poetry, with music, and cinema. It was a  diverting book for a long airplane ride, and like the narrator (now older, and able to understand the gift of platonic love from Kaji), I wanted to step into the Mozart Cafe, listen to some challenging classical music, and see the story continue.

Now that Brinkley-Rogers’ memoir was passed on to someone else, I’ve begun reading Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You. So far I can only say that it seems to have a Faulkner-esque sense of time (looping back upon itself to move the story forward). And I hope that the loops will eventually jettison the family at the heart of the story beyond the great mysteries of loss that they’re dealing with.

So, are you reading anything I should check out?


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