Episode 28: The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang
Charles Wang came to America and lived the American Dream, creating a cosmetics empire. His risks always paid off, until they didn't. Now, with the onset of the Great Recession, he's lost everything: his business, his money, even his fancy house in Bel Air. So he picks up and starts driving, collecting his son and younger daughter along the way. They're headed to New York where his oldest child, a past darling of the art world scene, will have to take them in. It's the quintessential American road trip story, with a twist. What does it mean to head East, not West? What does it mean to stand the American Dream on its head? And when you turn the American Dream inside out, what remains?
Host Cyd Oppenheimer talks with author Jade Chang about what was interesting about writing a book set during the Great Recession ("When you're in a time of upheaval, it's also a time when anything can happen"), the ways her novel rebels against the traditional immigrant narrative ("I really wanted to write about immigrants who see themselves as absolutely central to their own story and to the story of this country"), and why fictional mothers are always dead.