FAMILY TRUST (WilliamMorrow) by Kathy Wang is about a Chinese-American family based in Silicon Valley who are dealing with the passing of their patriarch, Stanley Huang.
As news of Stanley’s diagnosis spreads throughout his family, so do questions about who is going to inherit what. No one knows exactly how much Stanley is worth, but each is figuring on a big payday. Son Fred, a Harvard Business School graduate, who hasn’t lived up to his potential is hoping he’ll get enough to buy, not rent a house in a wealthy Silicon neighborhood. He works at a finance company where he can’t even fly business class. Sister, Kate is a middle manager at a prestigious high-tech company and the main bread-winner of the family. She’s also the mother of two children and waiting on her entrepreneur husband’s start-up to take-off. While she juggles all the balls in the family, she really wonders what exactly her husband is doing up there in the attic.
Stanley’s second wife, Mary Zhu, twenty-eight years his junior does what every wife should do for a frailing husband, foot rubs, massages, all while wondering just how long is this going to continue before he’s gone, already. Linda Liang, Stanley’s first wife stays far enough away, buy close enough to make sure her kids get their fair share. She doesn’t put it passed number two trying to screw his kids out of their inheritance.
It’s always challenging to go against the grain when a novel has been so buzzed about and called a must read for 2018. FAMILY TRUST is a clever, complex look at a family behaving badly, while trying to keep face. The characters are all flushed out well and very distinct, but I found Kathy Wang went off on tangets – pages and pages, before returning to her original point. At nearly four-hundred pages some of the “wittiness” could have been wittled down to make FAMILY TRUST a smarter, funnier novel.
But then again, I always write with this caveat … It might be your best read of 2018, so enjoy!