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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In this funny and contemplative debut novel, a Chinese American family claws its way through the maze of modern romance and the fallout of divorce. After a terminal diagnosis sends arrogant patriarch Stanley Huang into inheritance mania, it’s up to his no-nonsense ex-wife, indifferent son, and measured daughter to help corral him into tallying his assets and preparing a will. Meanwhile, Stanley’s family members wrestle with their own fears, dreams, and emotional dead ends. As their turmoil rattles everything in sight, Kathy Wang traces a finger along cultural fault lines with a knowing, familiar fondness.
A Taiwanese-American family faces the realities and indignities of living in Silicon Valley in Wang's astute debut. Stanley Huang is dying of pancreatic cancer and his reassurances to his family about his millions in savings are falling on increasingly suspicious ears. His first wife, Linda, received nearly nothing in her divorce and is determined that her children have more financial support than she received. As Stanley's health deteriorates, his far younger second wife, Mary Zhu, becomes frustrated with caring for him. Meanwhile, Stanley and Linda's son, Fred, toils as a middle manager in an investment firm and waits for a promotion that will surely make his career. Their daughter, Kate, suffers under a high-maintenance boss at a multinational tech company and has two young kids and a husband who works at a start-up that hasn't started up. Everyone in the family agrees: the money Stanley has vaguely promised them would be a huge relief. But as they attempt to secure their inheritances, questions emerge: How much of Stanley's respect have their loyalties and successes won? Who is acting in Stanley's best interest? And what will life look like after Stanley dies? The author brings levity and candor to the tricky terrain of family dynamics, aging, and excess. Wang's debut expertly considers the values of high-tech high society.