- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow (October 30, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062855255
- ISBN-13: 978-0062855251
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Family Trust: A Novel Hardcover – October 30, 2018
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From the Publisher
“A globe-trotting, whirlwind, tragi-comic family saga that wrings tears from absurdity and laughter from loss. A joy to read from start to finish.” (Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize)
“An old plot device gets a fresh life in this debut novel about a family gathering around the impending death of its patriarch in Silicon Valley.” (Washington Post)
“American literature knows family about as well as anything else....By now the clichés write themselves. Yet debut author Kathy Wang confidently leans into them, spicing up old stories — the tense reunions and fatal betrayals and dying fathers — with fresh faces.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Guaranteed jackpot for book clubs.” (People, Book of the Week)
“Addictive....a story about families and what connects everyone to one another, about the ties that bind and what the comfort that financial security can bring to people inside the hamster wheel of American consumerism.” (NPR.org)
“Astute…[Wang] brings levity and candor to the tricky terrain of family dynamics, aging, and excess [and] expertly considers the values of high-tech high society.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Readers who enjoy complicated novels about family issues will find this engrossing work impossible to put down.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“FAMILY TRUST reads like a brilliant mashup of The Nest and Crazy Rich Asians (with a soupçon of Arrested Development for good measure). It’s dark and funny and entertaining and thoughtful all at once. The best kind of family drama. I loved every page.” (Cristina Alger, author of The Banker’s Wife)
“Appealing, warm and witty...Family Trust is the perfect title, though Crazy Rich Asians (alas, already taken) would describe this deliciously entertaining novel just as well.” (AARP Magazine)
“At once a Chinese-American story, a Silicon Valley story, and a family saga with great characters and robust storytelling. It’s smart and wickedly funny, too, which is a winning combination.” (Bookreporter.com)
From the Back Cover
Meet Stanley Huang: father, husband, ex-husband, man of unpredictable tastes and temper, aficionado of all-inclusive vacations and bargain luxury goods, newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For years, Stanley has claimed that he’s worth a small fortune. But the time is now coming when the details of his estate will finally be revealed, and Stanley’s family is nervous.
For his son, Fred, the inheritance Stanley has long alluded to would soothe the pain caused by years of professional disappointment. By now, the Harvard Business School graduate had expected to be a financial tech god—not a minor investor at a middling corporate firm where he isn’t even allowed to fly business class.
Stanley’s daughter, Kate, is a middle manager with one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious tech companies. She manages the capricious demands of her world-famous boss and the needs of her two young children all while supporting her would-be entrepreneur husband (just until his startup gets off the ground, which will surely be soon). But lately, Kate has been sensing something is amiss; just because you say you have it all, it doesn’t mean that you actually do.
Stanley’s second wife, Mary Zhu, twenty-eight years his junior, has devoted herself to making her husband comfortable in every way—rubbing his feet, cooking his favorite dishes, massaging his ego. But lately, her commitment has waned; caring for a dying old man is far more difficult than she expected.
Linda Liang, Stanley’s first wife, knows her ex better than anyone. She worked hard for decades to ensure their financial security, and is determined to see her children get their due. Single for nearly a decade, she might finally be ready for some romantic companionship. But where does a seventy-two-year-old Chinese woman in California go to find an appropriate boyfriend?
As Stanley’s death approaches, the Huangs are faced with unexpected challenges that upend them and eventually lead them to discover what they most value. A compelling tale of cultural expectations, career ambitions and our relationships with the people who know us best, Family Trust skewers the ambition and desires that drive Silicon Valley and draws a sharply loving portrait of modern American family life.
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Stanley Huang has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His ex-wife, Linda, encourages her adult children to get Stanley to divulge how much he is worth and who gets what so there are no problems with his second wife, Mary, after he dies. Linda wants to makes sure her kids get their fair share given she was the one who was the primary breadwinner when she and Stanley were married. With Stanley's death approaching, Linda, her two kids, and Mary will all face challenges that will make them question what is really important.
The book gets off to a really slow start because there is too much focus on business and the lives of characters who really have nothing to do with the story. The book alternates chapters between different family members and so you are just getting to know the main characters but you're also getting all this unnecessary info which makes it overwhelming to read. Thankfully, after about 100 pages, you finally will feel like you are starting to understand this family a bit better.
I liked the idea behind this book but I can't say I loved this story. If you are looking for a book that explores the business side of Silicon Valley and people motivated by money, this is a decent pick. But as a family drama, I just don't think this comes close to matching some of the other books I have read recently.
I won a free copy of this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
Asian concepts like Face and Duty to Family may be difficult for many Americans to understand. That is why I think this such an important book because it highlights the internal lives of Asian families in the United States, often invisible and often assumed to have successfully assimilated. This book speaks to the struggles of Chinese American families who have many of the characteristics of white Americans, but often do not have the same privileges. Characters like Fred feel constantly emasculated and treated as less than by their American peers. Many people simply assume Linda cannot speak English. Stanley cannot bring himself to trust Western Medicine, and instead relies on Chinese superstition. Kate struggles to balance out the role taught to her for a good Chinese wife... and her struggle to own her accomplishments and be her own woman.
In an age where increasing cultural understanding and awareness is rising, this book speaks to a yet often ignored segment of American society and their journey through life.
As news of Stanley's diagnosis spreads throughout his family, so do questions about who is going to inherit what. No one knows exactly how much Stanley is worth, but each is figuring on a big payday. Son Fred, a Harvard Business School graduate, who hasn't lived up to his potential is hoping he'll get enough to buy, not rent a house in a wealthy Silicon neighborhood. He works at a finance company where he can't even fly business class. Sister, Kate is a middle manager at a prestigious high-tech company and the main bread-winner of the family. She's also the mother of two children and waiting on her entrepreneur husband's start-up to take-off. While she juggles all the balls in the family, she really wonders what exactly her husband is doing up there in the attic.
Stanley's second wife, Mary Zhu, twenty-eight years his junior does what every wife should do for a frailing husband, foot rubs, massages, all while wondering just how long is this going to continue before he's gone, already. Linda Liang, Stanley's first wife stays far enough away, buy close enough to make sure her kids get their fair share. She doesn't put it passed number two trying to screw his kids out of their inheritance.
It's always challenging to go against the grain when a novel has been so buzzed about and called a must read for 2018. FAMILY TRUST is a clever, complex look at a family behaving badly, while trying to keep face. The characters are all flushed out well and very distinct, but I found Kathy Wang went off on tangets - pages and pages, before returning to her original point. At nearly four-hundred pages some of the "wittiness" could have been wittled down to make FAMILY TRUST a smarter, funnier novel.
But then again, I always write with this caveat ... It might be your best read of 2018, so enjoy!