Reading Matters

Celeste Ng’s debut novel winning honors right and left

Celeste Ng’s 2014 debut novel, “Everything I Never Told You,” recently out in paperback, is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time. Ng is, by the way, pronounced “Ing.”

So I am thrilled to tell you that the novel has just racked up several big honors.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book has selected “Everything” as a “Must Read” book for 2015. It’s also shortlisted for the Massachussetts Book Award, which recognizes “compelling works of Massachusetts fiction, nonfiction, poetry and children’s/YA literature published within the past year.

It’s also been selected as a finalist for the Ohioana Book Award, given annually and recognizing “outstanding books published each year in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, juvenile literature and books about Ohio or an Ohioan.

And now, while we weren’t looking, it’s been shortlisted for the John Creasey Dagger Award by the Crime Writers’ Association in the UK, which recognizes “the best crime novel by a first-time author of any nationality first published in the UK in English during the Judging Period.

Funny. I hadn’t even thought of “Everything” as a crime novel. What so impressed me -- yes, the mysterious death of the Lee’s favorite daughter was compelling -- but more so were the conscious and unconscious pressures put on the daughter coming straight out of the parents’ own lacks, needs, desires, humiliations (real or imagined).

Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Shaker Heights, Ohio, the daughter of scientists. She graduated from Harvard and earned her MFA at the Universisty of Michigan, where she received the prestigious Hopwood Award.

I’ll keep you posted. I’m fascinated by every word I read about her, including the fact that she spent six years and went through four drafts completing “Everything I Never Told You.”