Hippo Reads just published my interview with Celeste Ng, author of the highly acclaimed novel Everything I Never Told You. This dark story centers on an AMWF family living in 1970s small town America grappling with an unimaginable tragedy, and it’s one of the best books I’ve read all year.
In particular, I loved the way that Celeste captured the true dynamics of discrimination in America in this book (incidentally, practically all the race-based discrimination she wrote about either happened to her or to someone she knew).
From interviewer Jocelyn Eikenburg: Everything I Never Told You touched me on a personal level. Naturally, I was drawn to the family at the heart of the story. I write about Asian interracial relationships and am married to a Chinese national, so it was refreshing to read a book featuring an Asian father and a white mother raising mixed-race children. More importantly, Everything I Never Told You perfectly captures the insidious nature of race-based discrimination in America and reminds us that Asian Americans are not in any way exempt (despite the pervasive “model minority” stereotype about Asians which I previously debunked on Hippo Reads). While Celeste Ng set her novel in the 1970s, my husband (who lived with me in the US for nearly eight years) also faced discrimination similar to what the novel’s father, James Lee, suffered in the story. When I was reading Everything I Never Told You, I felt as if the Lee family’s sorrows could easily have been my own. It was an incredibly cathartic experience.
Read the full interview at Hippo Reads to learn more about this fascinating novel. A big thanks to Kaitlin Solimine for suggesting this collaboration!