All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien
It’s 1996, and Ky Tran has left her tiny hometown of Cabramatta and her Vietnamese immigrant community to scratch out a future as a journalist in Melbourne. Then tragedy strikes: Ky’s brother Denny, a star student with a bright future, is brutally murdered in a popular restaurant. Despite the presence of witnesses, the police have almost no information and no leads on the killer. Ky’s parents sink into mourning and urge their daughter to leave it alone, fearful of what may happen if she asks too many questions. But Ky, consumed with grief and guilt, is compelled to pursue the truth. What she finds leads her into the past, to the pain of growing up as an outsider in a country where her family isn’t welcome. Though debut author Lien explores hard topics like xenophobia and generational trauma, at its heart this is a compelling mystery peopled with an unforgettable cast of characters. This rich, complex novel is a sure-fire pick for great book club discussion.
Reviewed by Mary Kinser, collection development librarian, Whatcom County Library System
(Originally published in Bellingham Alive, October 2022 issue.)