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Publisher's Summary

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 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 start-up 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 you actually do.   

Stanley’s second wife, Mary Zhu, 28 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 72-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.

©2018 Kathy Wang (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A nice weekend listen

I bought this book on Friday, finished it on Sunday Morning. It was a wonderful novel about family and it’s sometimes ugly underbelly. There is very thought provoking dialogue sprinkled throughout this novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Asian Family Drama

Loved this family's story of finding their way through life. Life isn't a story. It's full of beginnings, endings, do
overs, catastrophes, worry, and contentment.
The reader's performance brought a lot to this book.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

unlikeable shallow characters - made me sad & mad.

Thoroughly unlikeable, shallow characters in an apathetic world, full of cliches racist stereotypes, without emotional depth, living for nothing but material means and ego.

Description of characters are limited to the car they drive, the brand they wear, and the country of their origin and what they do; as if those external means could define a person’s whole humanity. There is zero attempt at emotional complexity, beyond narcissism, racism, sex, and money. I honestly hope, nobody lives this spiritually shallow and emotionally devoid life.

The writer makes an attempt to bring up important issues such as racism in the workplace, or managed numbers of minority student at universities, but by degrading every human interaction to the most superficial, materialistic means and describing all characters as judgmental, narcissistic, and hedonistic; the author does little more than propagate the same shallow thinking that got our society to current predicament. When fiction does not inquire deeper into the human condition beyond a cheap-page turning joke than it simply adds to the mindless colloquy that further numbs our society and prevents deep thinking.

Unfortunately, in this book, all characters take the shape of boiled-down clichés from national/racial stereotype.

Human beings are more complex, and if we are going to have a fighting chance to live in a more humanistic world, we better start with deeper conversations to break down stereotypes. This novel is trying to “entertain” us by making absolute fun of the worst racist categories. At first, I took the Eastern European character as an insult, my culture being represented this way is something that I feel my obligation to fight (even if fiction, it can form opinions for the public.) I continued to read, as my mild disgust grew, I did realize that ALL nations and ALL people got reduced to the same treatment in the book. Why is this good for our society? Why is it funny to strike at the lowest common denominator for easy entertainment? Yes, even if fiction, how is this the kind of energy we need in our society?

Please allow me to set the record straight on the Eastern European character, if you wish to skip my soap box, just scroll down one paragraph. :- )
I am sick and tired of the female Eastern European gold digger character with half a brain. It is a cheap shot based on a misunderstanding, and ignorance of Eastern Europe. In the book, Erika’s parents were “socialist” but intending on enjoying southern California sun for their retirement despite their socialist tendencies… Really? What does one have to do with the other? Should all left-leaning Democrats move to Sweden? And if I may point out the further ignorance of the author for a cheap shot at racist stereotypes, if you gonna make a nationalistic joke, get it right. If somebody is socialist in thinking and from Eastern Europe, they would feel uncomfortable in a five-star establishment; they would view it as a waste of money and a disgusting display of superficial humanity. They would welcome multiple nationalities (that's a socialist must), and would think it is natural that most faces are Asian since all people know that most of the Bay Area are made up of Asian immigrant demographic. Now if the author would have picked Erika’s parents to be uneducated far-right voting, from a village in Hungary, then I would have been able to accept her description of stereotype better. (though still with disgust) As I said, if you gonna build a book on stereotypes, and cheap jokes, let’s at least get the stereotype right! Oh and to set the record straight, I do not know of a single Hungarian who checks where a gift was made. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is a very popular saying in Hungary.

OK...
So I continued listening, hoping that the book would turn into a version of The Stranger by Albert Camus, where the characters' apathy IS the social commentary. But it never quite happened. The book never broke through from a horribly extended family lemonade… Right around chapter 9 I paused, I was not sure that I could spend more time with these apathetic humans working out a so-called relationship. (I say so-called because not a single character made any attempt to actually talk, and have a meaningful relationship…) But I pushed on, because I wanted to be able to legitimately write a review.

Yes, this work made me mad or sad... because it is reflecting all that I find harmful in our current society. It is another novel dedicated to the new vogue; manifesto to absolute materialism, it’s hip, it’s sassy, and it is “funny”, and everything can be explained by money, and devoid of introspection and emotion. The novel is perfectly marketed, perfectly presented for high volume sales; thus the novel itself, and not only its content is the product of a superficial structure that dominates our world. To balance my opinion, Mrs. Wang has a decent vocabulary (why I gave her two stars - the author can write..) and has the potential to be a better writer. It’s long smart-alec descriptions will entertain the reader, something a lot of other “creative works” nowadays are devoid of completely.


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Poor Performance

I can’t understand why an author with a decent story line and novel can allow a performance such as the one for this book. At times it was just fine, but when going into character it was horrible. I felt like the “characters” were sucking on helium and that Donald Duck had joined the party. It was so distracting

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Decent story but with many unlikeable characters

I had a hard time getting into this story. A few parts were very entertaining. However I disliked most of the characters. I usually like Joy Osmanaki however she did a poor job of an Eastern European accent. I originally thought the character was also Chinese like most of the other characters. I almost stopped listening becasue it was hard to hear. Other than that, the narration was good

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Money, money, money, money...

Life is NOT a cabaret in this book. There is no one to like and nothing useful to learn. The writing is skillful but cynical and angry. One sincerely hopes this is not a roman a clef.

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Beautiful, heart wrenching portrait

If you like literature because it helps you understand things about people you didn’t know or hadn’t thought about before, you will love this book. The writing is as natural as water running downhill. Will read anything else by Wang I ever see.

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Great family in crisis fiction

I love this novel about a family in crisis, set in my favorite part of California, the SF Bay area. #Multigenerational #Clever #tagsgiving #sweepstakes