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The Wangs vs The World Hardcover – 3 Nov 2016

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Fig Tree (3 Nov. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241243483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241243480
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

[A] richly entertaining debut . . . smart and engaging (Guardian)

Sharply comic, The Wangs Vs the World is a hilarious take on the road trip novel (Stylist)

The Wangs vs. the World is one of the most thrilling, skilfully wrought novels I've read in ages . . .a rollicking rambunctious ride with a crew of unforgettable characters. (Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals)

A recession-era Little Miss Sunshine meets Arrested Development . . . a fun debut that offers something a little bit different. (Big Issue)

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)

A fresh Little Miss Sunshine. (Sloane Crosley in Vanity Fair)

A heartbreaking, hilarious, and honest American epic (J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest)

From the Inside Flap

Meet the Wangs, the unforgettable immigrant family whose spectacular fall from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings them together in a way money never could.

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, bighearted immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family s ancestral lands and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring-comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art-world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smashup in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the Old World and the New, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are the odd few things about The Wangs vs. the World that might feel a little familiar to lovers of the great American novel: three flawed, grown-up children spread out across the USA, an unravelling and slightly hysterical parent determined to gather them under one roof again, and all set against the backdrop of a financial crisis. It’s also an ambitious book with initially unlikeable primary characters, packed with interesting psychological insights and told from multiple perspectives, jigsawing together to build a picture of a modern family.

But this is not the modern classic by Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections, it is the much-hyped debut novel from Jade Chang. And instead of a traditional Midwest family suffering through a modern America they no longer feel at home in, the Wangs are are an immigrant family who have made their home in LA.

Charles Wang, himself the child of Chinese immigrants, moved from Taiwan to the States as a young man to build a fantastically successful cosmetics company, before making a series of bad choices ending in bankruptcy. His eldest daughter, Saina, made her own mistakes of judgement that led her from being a successful modern artist and New York It Girl to hiding out in the Catskills. Andrew is a charming, but deluded, aspiring stand-up comedian, while youngest child Grace is a style-blogging 16 yr-old pulled out of boarding school when bankruptcy hits.

The novel tells the story of a road trip, conceived by Charles when his company fails, to collect Andrew and Grace from their schools and deliver them to Saina’s house - to him the reunion is an end in itself.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a novel that immerses itself in the Wang family when their wealth disappears completely in the 2008 financial markets crash. It is exacerbated by Charles Wang's inability to follow the advice given by experts, in his arrogance he believes he knows better and lives to rue his irrational decisions. Charles was raised in Taiwan and came to the US with nothing. As a first generation immigrant, he built up a cosmetics fortune. He is married for the second time to Barbra, yes, named after Barbra Streisand. They have lived a celebrity lifestyle and struggle to adapt to their new circumstances. He is a in your face, brash character and he is angry at the situation he finds himself in. His family are from China where their considerable land was taken. Due to a specific law, he believes that he will now be able to claim back the family acres and be able to be back at the top again. He wants to take the family to China, but fails to understand that they may not want to go there.

Charles decides to collect the family and go on a road trip to New York where his eldest daughter, Saina, resides and whose trust fund he believes is safe. He extracts Grace, his teenage daughter from private school and Andrew from university where he dreams of being a comedian. The family then set off. What the trip really does is reveal the characters and give insights into their history, life and aspirations in all their dysfunctional glory. The side trip to New Orleans has Andrew in thrall to an older woman, Dorrie. Barbra is less than comfortable with their new status of being bankrupt and eyes up other opportunities. Grace has thoughts of suicide interspersed with those of fashion and style. Saina who is part of the art world circles finds herself in hiding after a downturn in her stock.
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Format: Hardcover
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</strong>Charles Wang has lost his business, his house, his cars and his luxurious Bel Air lifestyle. He decides to take his wife, Barbara, son Andrew and daughter Grace, on a road trip across America to stay with his eldest daughter, Sania, in New York. After that he intends to fly to China to reclaim his families land that was confiscated when China became a Communist country. Along the way Andrew tries his hand at stand-up comedy, Barbara considers leaving after spending too many nights in cheap motels and Grace is concerned about her fashio blog and what being poor will mean to it. It is a road trip that makes them all look at their lives in a different way.
I thought this was well written, and combined both comedy and more serious issues, like cultural history, the American dream, death and relationships, in balance. The Wangs, as a family, are very likeable in their own way. Charles is a loving father and proud of the business he built as well as his Chinese heritage. Barbara came from Taiwan with the sole intention of marrying Charles after the death of his first wife. As a step-mother she is very distant from the children, but the trip makes her look closer at this. Andrew, is at college but fancies himself as a comendian, he is finding his way in the world, and Grace is a typical 16 year old girl who is interested in fashion and beauty. Sania, the eldest is an artist but is hiding from the art world after bad reviews and a failed engagement. Through the course of the novel it is interesting to see how they begin to see life differently.
My only complaint about this book is the philosophical musings of the characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars 79 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chinese/American Family Insight 20 Nov. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The best part of this book for me is the insight into the lives and histories of Chinese-American families. The turmoil that many Chinese endured as the aftermath of WWII, when the Communists took over the mainland is very interesting and not very well known by contemporary Americans.
The work ethic that led to Charles Wang's success and his pride in his wealth made his financial downfall all the more tragic for him and prevented him from sharing the failure with his family. The children's responses to the sudden fall from wealth into unimagined poverty are the compelling parts of the story, as they drive east in the maid's 30 year old Mercedes. There is some great humorous story-telling along the way.

My complaint is that the author didn't develop Charles more completely and his wife, Barbra, is ghostlike until the very end. The children's lives were changed forever but, except for the oldest daughter, we don't get much insight into how they will change. I also wish there weren't so many Chinese language phrases written in English characters but not translated.

If this subject interests you "The Porcelain Thief", about another Chinese/American adventure, might interest you.
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read. 16 Oct. 2016
By Moo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Wangs vs. the World is an engaging tale of a first generation Chinese immigrant and his privileged three children. Charles Wang quickly achieves the American Dream and is able to provide materially everything his family desires. An unexpected bankruptcy stuns the entire family and sends them on an arduous cross country road trip. The book starts very strong and I loved the first half, unfortunately, for me, the saga loses steam after that, and the ending was unsatisfying. Still, a well-written and unique novel by a promising author.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising debut 16 Oct. 2016
By Daniel Damaska - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An immigrant story, a second generation story, a road trip, a financial crisis novel, this novel is so many things making it feel a little frenzied and overstuffed at times. And yet, some lines are so trenchant and many of the observations are so funny and true that one can't help but like this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just shows how much to can truly gain through a loss 28 Oct. 2016
By AlwaysAnOpinion - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Felt an opening in my own heart at the end, as I thought of my own mother. How she was both smart and unsure, funny and serious, and brave and afraid, big and small in so many things. All at one time.
3.0 out of 5 stars Expected much more 19 Nov. 2016
By bostonmom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I expected much more from this book. I was hoping it would be a funny story of how the wangs found their way back to each other despite hard times. Although they did get back together it was terribly boring in many areas and I nearly put it down a bunch of times. Instead of this, read Celeste Ng's book. It was amazing. Not a comedy but poignant and memorable.
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