A Good Morning America Buzz Pick * Named A Best Book of Summer by Entertainment Weekly, New York Post, Buzzfeed, TheSkimm, PopSugar, Bustle, HelloGiggles, Ms. Magazine, Oprah Daily, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Lit Hub * Named A Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by The Millions, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Crimereads
A sharp and prescient novel about women in the workplace, the power of Big Tech, and the looming threat of foreign espionage from Kathy Wang, “a skilled satirist of the northern California dream” (Harper’s Bazaar)
In 2006 Julia Lerner is living in Moscow, a recent university graduate in computer science, when she’s recruited by Russia’s largest intelligence agency. By 2018 she’s in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America’s most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self promotion (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia's asking for more, and Julia’s getting nervous.
Alice Lu is a first generation Chinese American whose parents are delighted she’s working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she’s slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial “founder’s girlfriend”. One afternoon, while performing a server check, Alice discovers some unusual activity, and now she’s burdened with two powerful but distressing suspicions: Tangerine’s privacy settings aren’t as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself.
The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she's the one who built her career; isn’t she entitled to protect the lifestyle she’s earned? Part page-turning cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, Impostor Syndrome is a shrewdly-observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream.
Wang (Family Trust) leavens this glossy tale of corporate espionage with savvy takes on cultural assimilation in contemporary America. Julia Lerner, plucked from a Russian orphanage by intelligence agent Leo Guskov, has been groomed to infiltrate Silicon Valley social media giant Tangerine. Julia's rise to COO—a position that gives her access to sensitive data on Tangerine's billions of users—sounds an alarm for Alice Lu, a Chinese American member of Tangerine's staff, who is mortified to discover that a data breach she flags in the company's system is linked to Julia's private account. Julia and Alice's pas de deux drives the plot and gives Wang ample space to reflect on modern corporate attitudes toward gender, ethnicity, and the American dream's appeal to socially disadvantaged members of minority groups and to foreign nationals who, in this case, work to undermine the very country whose values and opportunities they are eager to embrace (in their own ways, Julia and Leo develop a preference for the possibilities that America has to offer). The story builds to a number of dramatic moments that happen offstage, somewhat diminishing the dramatic impact, but Wang's depictions of office politics and geopolitical dynamics are spot-on. This offers plenty of grist for reader rumination.
Seriously Great Book!
This book has an incredibly interesting storyline and is very well written. Definitely check this out if you’re looking for a departure from the norm.