Family Trust: A Novel (Paperback)
November 2018 Indie Next List
“Family Trust is a novel that I did not want to end. From the start, I was completely immersed in the Huang family dynamic, complicated as most families tend to be. In one sentence you feel real sympathy for a character, and in the next you are laughing out loud. It is a true gem. From the first pages, I was completely swept in to the lives of the Huang family. I have a feeling this will be my go-to hand-sell for the fall! Those who loved The Nest and Crazy Rich Asians will eat this right up! A very well-written, highly enjoyable read.”
— Kaitlin Smith, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, CA
Some of us are more equal than others....
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 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.
About the Author
Kathy Wang grew up in Northern California and holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two children.
“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
“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.”
“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)
“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
“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
“This social satire is Kathy Wang’s debut, and it bristles with wit.”
— Toronto Star
“A mash-up of Crazy Rich Asians and the TV series Silicon Valley, with elements of Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire Of The Vanities and Jane Austen’s comedy of manners and family dynamics.”
— Irish Times
“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.”
“Funny and compelling.”
— Southern Living
“Dryly cynical...the hook, however, lies in Wang’s relatable portraits of the various members of the Huang family.”
— The Globe and Mail
“Insightful, witty and acutely honest....[Wang’s] dissection of the glamorous appeal of this superficial slice of life succeeds on many levels.”
“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.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“[Wang] explores Silicon Valley subculture with wit and ultimately reveals a deep understanding of her feckless strivers.”
“Silky in satire, the writing is biting, bristling, intelligent; this is a detached story of modern family ties, frequently funny but seldom warm.”
— Irish Times
“It’s a story of trust in both senses of the word, and Wang guides us effortlessly through that intertwining mess of love and resentment that only family can create. She does so against the backdrop of Silicon Valley wealth and pretensions, perfectly skewering its (and our) culture of excess.”
“Insightful, witty and acutely honest.... Succeeds on many levels and will appeal to a wide variety of readers.”
“A wicked and witty send up of Asian-American Silicon Valley elite, a delightful debut that Jane Austen would have approved of.”
— Micah Perks, author of What Becomes Us
“FAMILY TRUST offers an exquisite rendering of the way relationships evolve and are nurtured over a lifetime, and of the circumstances that either draw individuals closer or drive them apart.”
— Meghan Maclain Weir, author of The Book of Essie
“A sharp, spirited and wholly original take on the American Dream.”
— Jillian Medoff, bestselling author of This Could Hurt
“Family Trust is a smart, thoughtful, and funny read that you won’t want to put down.”
“Set in a Silicon Valley that is as monstrous and absurd as it is true to life, Family Trust examines the nature of family loyalty and obligation as well as the choices that set lives on seemingly irreversible courses.”
— San Francisco Book Review