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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Book Notes: Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You

I knew this was going to be a silly little book from the start because the cover said the author had done an MFA. Nothing but pompous airheads come from those programs. But Klara is teething, I’m exhausted, my brain can’t process anything complex, and I still need to read something. So a cutesy debut by an earnest little MFA graduate would be just the ticket.

Even with these low expectations, Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You stunned me with its extraordinary vapidity. There is no platitude, truism or cliche that this author doesn’t love. Every sentence leaves one wondering whether Ng has really written something this predictable. This is a novel that truly keeps you up at night with its total absence of surprises and its incapacity to meet even the lowest expectations. The depiction of Chinese Americans is beyond stereotypical, which, I’m sure, is largely responsible for the novel’s success. Because in case you are unaware, this is a huge bestseller. 

And now let me go and try to get the cloyingly sweet taste of the novel’s utterly predictable happy ending out of my mouth. 

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4 thoughts on “Book Notes: Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You

  1. \ But Klara is teething, I’m exhausted, my brain can’t process anything complex, and I still need to read something.

    I absolutely loved this super long, beautiful and not too complex novel which got a Nobel:

    \ Kristin Lavransdatter is a trilogy of historical novels written by Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset. The individual novels are Kransen (The Wreath), first published in 1920, Husfrue (The Wife), published in 1921, and Korset (The Cross), published in 1922.

    I read Кристин, дочь Лавранса in Russian, not English. The second part was my favorite since it focused on the couple’s married life and children.

    One can read the book on the web in Russian here:
    http://loveread.ec/read_book.php?id=16052&p=1

    Like

  2. EQ84 on said:

    I knew this was going to be a silly little book from the start because the cover said the author had done an MFA. Nothing but pompous airheads come from those programs.

    I’ve noticed the same thing and I find it puzzling that those who have had the most education in writing should produce the most toothless prose. Do you have any theories as to why this is the case?

    Like

  3. Pingback: Totally Trivial Tuesday | xykademiqz

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