All That's Left Unsaid: A Novel (Paperback)
A young woman returns home in the wake of her brother’s murder. As a second generation of a refugee family, Ky knows that her parents, who both fled Vietnam, will stay frustratingly silent during this tragedy and she starts investigating it — but her attempts at uncovering the truth of what happened quickly hit a wall of nothingness. Drawing a vivid portrait of the emotional struggle in which refugees try to navigate life, this thrilling crime story is full of insights into community and family.— Liz
A Phenomenal Book Club Pick!
For fans of Everything I Never Told You and The Mothers, a deeply moving and unflinching debut following a young Vietnamese-Australian woman who returns home to her family in the wake of her brother’s shocking murder, determined to discover what happened—a dramatic exploration of the intricate bonds and obligations of friendship, family, and community.
Just let him go. These are the 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, brilliant Denny—is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, an indifferent police force, and the worst heroin epidemic in Australian history.
Returning home to Cabramatta for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by Denny’s case: a dozen people were at Lucky 8 restaurant when Denny died, but each of the bystanders claim to have seen nothing.
Desperately hoping that understanding what happened might ease her suffocating guilt, Ky sets aside her grief and determines to track down the witnesses herself. With each encounter, she peels back another layer of the place that shaped her and Denny, exposing the seeds of violence that were planted well before that fateful celebration dinner: by colonialism, by the war in Vietnam, and by the choices they’ve all made to survive.
Alternating between Ky’s voice and the perspectives of the witnesses, Tracey Lien’s extraordinary debut is at once heart-pounding and heart-rending as it probes the intricate bonds of friendship, family, and community through an unforgettable cast of characters, all connected by a devastating crime. Combining evocative family drama and gripping suspense, All That’s Left Unsaid is a profound and moving page turner, perfect for readers of Liz Moore, Brit Bennett, and Celeste Ng.
About 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.
“Powerful… Lien's debut is moving and beautifully rendered.” — Washington Post on All That's Left Unsaid
“An urgent story that commands an audience. All That's Left Unsaid is a gripping and unflinching narrative that is as heart-wrenching as it is unputdownable.” — New York Times and internationally bestselling author, Karin Slaughter
“While the mystery is compelling, like the richest literary crime fiction, this story has broader ambitions than revealing who did it. As the investigation progresses, Lien... explores the contingent nature of the welcome afforded to Asian immigrants in ostensibly liberal places like Australia.... Lien’s poignant and impeccable storytelling shines as she lays waste to the pretenses.” — Oprah Daily on All That's Left Unsaid
"Lien’s insightful, emotional debut intelligently incorporates cultural concerns into a tightly focused mystery.... Readers will eagerly await Lien’s next." — Publishers Weekly (starred review) on All That's Left Unsaid
“A moving debut about loss, grief, and addiction… All That’s Left Unsaid is thought-provoking, highlighting a heroin epidemic, the ties that bind family, and the glaring anti-Asian sentiment that infects Australia.” — Shondaland
“An unforgettable debut, utterly compelling from start to finish. Original. Heartbreaking. Gripping. I just loved it!”
— Liane Moriarty #1 New York Times bestselling author on All That's Left Unsaid
“This novel will make you travel through time: to an embattled Australia in 1996, to a youth shaped by your parents' pain, to the day after the biggest mistake of your life. Tracey Lien's story pulls you back twenty years, then pushes you, heartbroken and stunned, into today's bright light. All That's Left Unsaid is honest, aching, and filled with beauty. It will transport you.” — Julia Phillips, internationally bestselling author of Disappearing Earth
“All That's Left Unsaid is a stunning debut, an unputdownable mystery combined with a profoundly moving family drama about the ways we hurt and hide from those we love most—and how we mend and strengthen those lifelong bonds. It blew me away.” — Angie Kim, Internationally bestselling author of Miracle Creek
“One of the most profoundly affecting novels I've ever read, All That's Left Unsaid is a wrenching, propulsive story about the desire to belong, the collision course between displacement and injustice, the long life of inherited trauma and the short lives we all live....Every character is rendered with astonishing precision and empathy, creating a vital and unforgettable portrait not just of a Vietnamese-Australian community, but a family fighting its way forward in the aftermath of a violent crime.”
— Katie Gutierrez, author of More Than You'll Ever Know
"Tracey Lien's debut novel, All That's Left Unsaid, is poignant and timely. A finely crafted novel about family, trauma, and the ways in which they bind us all." — Catherine Dang, author of Nice Girls
"Memorable and powerful....Lien's debut communicates the specific operation of generational trauma with nuance and insight.... A fictional tragedy evoked with such clarity and specificity that it will linger in your memory as if it really happened.
— Kirkus Reviews on All That's Left Unsaid
"A shocking, deeply moving and truly special debut. Savage and heart-breaking, All That’s Left Unsaid tackles some hugely important issues, yet is also a richly crafted mystery, a story that is both impossible to put down and impossible to forget" — Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at the End
"All That’s Left Unsaid might remind some readers of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects.... Yet Lien’s novel, by turns gripping and heartbreaking, makes room for forgiveness and understanding." — BookPage.com on All That's Left Unsaid
"Fans of Roselle Lim and Sonya Cobb will appreciate Lien's keen exploration of the cultural impulse to close ranks after a tragedy, and the power of clarity. " — Booklist on All That's Left Unsaid
"Tracey Lien’s debut about a young Vietnamese-Australian woman who tries to solve her brother’s murder is perfect for readers who love Celeste Ng and Brit Bennett."? — Katie Couric Media
"Beautifully written, with the voices of the characters insisting to be heard, this literary thriller cries out for compassion." — The Big Thrill on All That's Left Unsaid
“Devastating-in-the-best-way.” — E! Online on All That's Left Unsaid
"[A] thoroughly immersive literary mystery" — Oprah.com