It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour All That’s Left unsaid by Tracey Lien.
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.
About the book
They claim they saw nothing. She knows they’re lying. 1996 – Cabramatta, Sydney ‘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 with friends. That night, Denny – optimistic, guileless Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, and an indifferent police force.
Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case. Even though several people were present at Denny’s murder, each bystander claims to have seen nothing, and they are all staying silent.
Determined to uncover the truth, Ky tracks down and questions the witnesses herself. But what she learns goes beyond what happened that fateful night. The silence has always been there, threaded through the generations, and Ky begins to expose the complex traumas weighing on those present the night Denny died. As she peels back the layers of the place that shaped her, she must confront more than the reasons her brother is dead. And once those truths have finally been spoken, how can any of them move on?
Ky doesn’t realise her advice to give her baby brother a little freedom ultimately ends up being one of a few elements that leads to his death. Coping with his tragic death is one thing but trying to understand why the people who watched it happen are unwilling to help bring his killer to justice, is quite another. She can’t let it go.
It’s a spectacular read – nuanced and layered. When you strip away everything and are left with just the crime there is the bystander effect, the string of decisions and coincidences that lead to the event, and the emotional minefield and destruction that is left behind after a violent death.
What surrounds the event is a poignant blueprint of life as a refugee in a society that relegates you to the bottom step, because of race and heritage. The magnitude of the impact of generational trauma and PTSD on those who have lived through it, and the children born to those who have experienced it.
Those experiences determine self-imposed rules, fears, anxiety and in this case even the look away and accept the fate or hand you have been dealt with by life attitude.
I enjoyed the story surrounding the core, and to be fair the actual death is probably the least important element of the premise, which is tragic in itself. A riveting read.