Sharply observed and full of charm, this debut novel is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America -- and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way that money never could.
"Chang throws the immigrant journey on its head in this offbeat debut. Charles Wang built a hugely successful cosmetics company after coming to the U.S. from China. After some poor business choices, however, multiplied by the bottom dropping out of the economy, he is officially bankrupt. The only thing to do? Round up his family and return to China to claim his ancestral lands. The first stop is his oldest daughter's house in rural New York, prompting a cross-country road trip involving Charles, second-wife Barbra, and his two other children, college-age Andrew (a would-be stand-up comedian) and teenager Grace, who thinks this all might be a joke. It turns out that the Wangs can't function without the trappings of their now-lost lavish lifestyle, a situation that gives the road trip a decidedly wacky bent and infuses the novel with humor. Although the story strains credulity at times, readers with a taste for outsize family dysfunction, à la Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest (2016) and Emma Straub's The Vacationers (2014), will whip through this one with smiles on their faces.--Sexton, Kathy Copyright 2016 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"In Chang's sparkling debut novel, a family whose fortune has been lost in the 2008 financial crisis takes a cross-country road trip in an effort to regroup. Bouncy patriarch Charles Wang, who immigrated to Los Angeles from China by way of Taiwan when he was a young man and made a fortune manufacturing makeup, drives his daughter, teenage Grace, an avid fashion blogger, and his son, Andrew, an aspiring stand-up comic, across the country with Barbra, their stepmother. Their destination is a little town in the Catskills, where his oldest daughter, Saina, a conceptual artist who has retired in shame from the New York City art world, lives. The family stops in New Orleans, where virginal Andrew becomes temporarily involved with an older woman, and in Alabama, where Charles attempts to deliver a U-Haul full of custom makeup to a boutique country store. Various small crises, notably Saina's attempt to decide between a sweet new lover and an unreliable older one, keep the plot percolating. Chang's charming and quirky characters and comic observations make the novel a jaunty joy ride to remember. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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