Author Jade Chang is our guest this week. Her debut novel, THE WANGS Vs. THE WORLD was released last month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
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Jade Chang has covered arts and culture as a journalist and editor. She is the recipient of a Sundance Fellowship for Arts Journalism, the AIGA/Winterhouse Award for Design Criticism, and the James D. Houston Memorial scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.
She has worked as an arts and culture journalist and editor for publications including the BBC, Metropolis, The Los Angeles Times Magazine and Glamour. She was recently an editor at Goodreads. Her first paying job after college was as a researcher for the J. Peterman catalog.
THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2016) is her first novel. She lives in Los Angeles.
THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD made all of the “most anticipated” Fall book lists, and it has gotten rave reviews from Vanity Fair, New York Times, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Marie Claire, Buzzfeed, NPR, USA Today, Newsday, Nylon, Pop Sugar and Library Journal.
“Jade Chang is unendingly clever in her generous debut novel.” —NY Times
“A fresh Little Miss Sunshine.” —Vanity Fair
“Jade Chang’s firecracker of a debut knowingly and refreshingly breaks every unwritten rule of the Asian-American family saga, making for a blistering, high-energy read that’s worthy of its pre-publication hype.” —Newsday
“[The Wangs] is unrelentingly fun, but it’s also raw and profane—a story of fierce pride, fierce anger, and even fiercer love.” —NPR.org
“One of the best debut novels of 2016.” —Elle.com
“Fresh, energetic, and completely hilarious, The Wangs vs. the World is my favorite debut of the year.” —Jami Attenberg, author of Saint Mazie and The Middlesteins
“Funny, brash, honest, full of wit and heart and smarts. This is a novel I wish I could write, have been dying to read, and hope everyone else reads, too.” —Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and Sorry Please Thank You
“Jade Chang’s debut novel is a heartbreaking, hilarious, and honest American epic: a road trip that’s an ultimate escape from our parents’ American dream, toward an unknown destination that’s both more vulnerable and hopeful.” —J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest
“One of the most thrilling, skilfully wrought novels I’ve read in ages. I love aroad trip adventure, and this is a fine take on the form—a rollicking rambunctious ride with a crew of unforgettable characters, shot through with beautiful analyses of love. The Wangs were so real to me that I keep expecting them to turn up at my door. I’ll be ready with my bags if they do.” —Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals
About THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD —Kirkus Reviews
A Chinese-American family tumbles from riches to rags in Chang’s jam-packed, high-energy debut.
The financial crisis of the last decade is turning out to be a gold mine for American writers, one which includes a rich comic vein. Here, an immigrant businessman named Charles Wang has lost his cosmetics empire, his house, and his cars. His son (a wannabe stand-up comic) will have to leave college and his daughter (a precocious fashion blogger) must withdraw from private school. Once he fires their live-in maid, he takes back the car he gave her and drives the family across the country to live with his oldest daughter (a disgraced conceptual artist) in the Catskills. Like many Chinese families, the Wangs lost their ancestral land in the communist takeover, but Charles is determined to get it back. His explanation: “What if all the Persian kids in Beverly Hills torched their Ferraris and smashed their bottles of Dior Homme before joining the Taliban? What if they marched through the city and snatched up properties, pulling you onto the street and calling you a godless capitalist pig, kicking you with feet still clad in the tasseled Prada loafers they couldn’t bear to relinquish? Wasn’t your house still rightfully yours? Wouldn’t you want it back after they were inevitably vanquished by some makeshift Arizona militia?” Switching among the points of view of all the Wangs and several supporting players, racing back and forth in time and across the country and the world, dropping into Chinese, stuffing in stand-up routines and savvy details on finance, journalism, the beauty industry, and the art world, this debut novelist holds nothing back.
Head-spinning fun with many fine moments—but the emotional aspects of the book are weakened by the barrage effect.