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The Wangs vs the World

by Jade Chang

In a reversal of the usual story of immigrants struggling to integrate, this is a rollicking rags-to-riches-to-rags tragicomedy. The misadventures of a Chinese American family on a coast to coast road trip across America, led by their incorrigible patriarch Charles Wang (who has lost the family fortune and privileged lifestyle in the global recession) makes for a highly entertaining tale of family loyalty and resilience in the face of adversity.

Extract

Not this. No, not this. Not for him bastardized Peking duck eaten next to a tableful of wannabe rappers and their short, chubby, colored-contact-wearing Filipino girlfriends at Mr. Chow. Not for him shoulder-to-shoulder art openings where he sweated through the collar of his paper-thin cashmere sweater and stared at some sawed-in-half animal floating in formaldehyde whose guts didn't even have the courtesy to leak; not for him white women who wore silver chopsticks in their hair and smiled at him for approval. Nothing, nothing in his long lineage had prepared him for the Western worship of the Dalai Lama and pop stars wearing jade prayer beads and everyone drinking goddamn boba chai.
He shouldn't be here at all. Never should have set a single unbound foot on the New World. There was no arguing it. History had started fucking Charles Wang, and America had finished the job.

Parallels

Typical American by Gish Jen
 

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