Members of a Chinese-American family based in Silicon Valley deal with the passing of their patriarch.
As news of Stanley Huang's bleak diagnosis settles in, his ex-wife and adult children all face other complications in their lives. Linda Liang, 72, has been enjoying peace and quiet since her divorce from the ill-tempered Stanley. Always the brains of the outfit, she continues to ensure her comfort with smart investments and, now, a subscription to a high-end online dating service. Her fear is that whatever resources Stanley has managed to hang on to are being cornered by his young second wife, Mary Zhu, who caters to him with foot rubs and indulgent meals that she may well realize are doing nothing for his longevity. Meanwhile, offspring Fred and Kate, like debut novelist Wang, belong to a generation of Chinese-Americans grappling with the complicated effects of their high achievement and assimilation. Fred, groomed for success with a Harvard Business School degree, has gotten stuck at a middling firm where he's making a mere $325,000 per year. The woman who's hoping to be his second wife is another gold digger, a Hungarian beauty with a job selling jewelry at Saks. Fred's vistas open up when he gets an email from a former classmate: "Jack Hu, the lone male scion of a billionaire family in Hong Kong. They shared a circle because they were both Asian men, a minority whose numbers at Harvard were carefully and deliberately contained each year by the administration." Invited for the first time to the Founders’ Retreat, a luxurious networking opportunity for captains of industry, Fred is determined to do whatever it takes to cash in. Back home, his sister, Kate, is suffering from Superwoman syndrome: Her paycheck supports her family of four, but she also carries the heavier burden as both parent and child. And she's about to find out what her entrepreneur husband really does all day.
Wang speaks with authority, insight, and irony about the ethnic and socio-economic realities at business school, in Silicon Valley, in mixed-race relationships and marriages. A strong debut.