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?
My thoughts: this is a powerful book, as Ky (pronounced Key) tries to solve the mystery of her brother’s horrific murder, she reflects on growing up the children of immigrants, her parents are from Korea, and the legacy that leaves her and her generation with. The microaggressions, the overt or not racism, the way none of the white Australians will admit it must have been hard.
There’s also poverty, parental expectations and fears, violence, gangs and grief in the mix. Why won’t her brother’s friends or even his teacher speak up? And what does her long lost best friend Minnie have to do with it?
Ky doesn’t just advocate for her brother with the indifferent, all white, police force, she investigates, using her skills as a journalist to interview and question witnesses, hunt down potential leads and unravel the silence around the crime. Even her own parents seem reluctant to dig deeper, lost in their grief.
Powerful, compelling and moving. This is a book I won’t be forgetting soon.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.