All That’s Left Unsaid

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Author: Tracey Lien

Category: Books To Recommend (Libraries) , Fiction , Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945) , Previous Picks (Book Post)

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: HQ Fiction

ISBN: 9780008649197

RRP: $22.99


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‘An extraordinary work of Australian literature about who we are as a nation. This book deserves to be a classic in our literary canon. Profoundly moving, riveting, tender and heartbreaking. What a read. Tracey Lien is a major new voice in our literary landscape and I can’t wait to read what she writes next. Bravo’
Nikki Gemmell

There were a dozen witnesses to Denny Tran’s brutal murder in a busy Sydney restaurant. So how come no one saw anything?

‘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. That night in 1996, Denny – optimistic, guileless, brilliant Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in Cabramatta, a Sydney suburb facing violent crime, an indifferent police force, and the worst heroin epidemic in Australian history.

Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case: several people were at Lucky 8 restaurant when Denny died, but each of the bystanders claim to have seen nothing.

As an antidote to grief and guilt, Ky is determined to track down the witnesses herself. With each encounter, she peels away another layer of the place that shaped her and Denny,exposing the trauma and 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.

Tracey Lien’s extraordinary debut is at once heart-pounding and heart-rending as it pulls apart the intricate bonds of friendship, family, culture and community that produced a devastating crime. Combining evocative family drama and gripping suspense, All That’s Left Unsaid is both a study of the effects of inherited trauma and social discrimination, and a compulsively readable literary thriller that expertly holds the reader in its grip until the final page.

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Tracey Lien’s story is tragic, opening and dissecting the truth of what is behind family ties that are readily overlooked. Being a migrant with the hope for a new life, and new beginnings, the sorrow only deepens with cultural and language barriers in a new system foreign to the former. Just like our soldiers of WW11 never talked about their past. This repression may serve a purpose yet it enables the present circumstance to cloud judgment. Not so with Ky Tran, Australian educated with an inquiry mind, who loves and protects her brother in the close Vietnamese community, encounters disgruntled youths of subculture struggling with their own set of difficulties, whose aspirational hard-working parents find to understand.

The drama is gripping right through that resonates with families who have often inherited trauma in their lives.

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