Impostor Syndrome: A Novel (Hardcover)
A sharp and prescient novel about women in the workplace, the power of Big Tech, and the looming threat of foreign espionage from Kathy Wang, “a skilled satirist of the northern California dream” (Harper’s Bazaar)
In 2006 Julia Lerner is living in Moscow, a recent university graduate in computer science, when she’s recruited by Russia’s largest intelligence agency. By 2018 she’s in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America’s most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self promotion (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia's asking for more, and Julia’s getting nervous.
Alice Lu is a first generation Chinese American whose parents are delighted she’s working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she’s slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial “founder’s girlfriend”. One afternoon, while performing a server check, Alice discovers some unusual activity, and now she’s burdened with two powerful but distressing suspicions: Tangerine’s privacy settings aren’t as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself.
The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she's the one who built her career; isn’t she entitled to protect the lifestyle she’s earned? Part page-turning cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, Impostor Syndrome is a shrewdly-observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream.
About the Author
Kathy Wang grew up in Northern California and holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two children.
"Like John le Carré filtered through Tom Wolfe, Impostor Syndrome encapsulates our Facebook anxieties perfectly."
— The Millions
"A skilled satirist of the Northern California dream."
— Harper's Bazaar
"Kathy Wang’s knowledge is vast, her observations dazzling and impeccable. I sucked down this book in a two-day binge, barely leaving my chair."
— Cathi Hanauer, New York Times bestselling author of Gone and The Bitch is Back
"Kathy Wang’s IMPOSTOR SYNDROME is a smart, ambitious, and hugely original novel that succeeds on every level. It’s part gripping spy thriller, part sharp-eyed Silicon Valley satire, part nuanced character study – and fully, deeply entertaining every step of the way."
— Lou Berney, Edgar Award-wining author of November Road
“A globe-trotting, whirlwind, tragi-comic family saga that wrings tears from absurdity and laughter from loss. A joy to read from start to finish.”
— Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, on Family Trust
“Guaranteed jackpot for book clubs.”
— People, Book of the Week, on Family Trust
"Family Trust is a captivating read...at its best when it's telling us a truth about Silicon Valley: that racism and greed operate here as well — no measure of assimilation or success can change that."
— NPR on Family Trust
"Wang’s characters never bought into the idea that tech is a meritocracy...Family Trust, on the other hand, is most deft when the competing demands of race, class, and gender intersect."
— Wired on Family Trust
"This novel is expert on the business world, its investors and sharks, with astute observations on the ambitions and social currency of one of the wealthiest parts of California. Silky in satire, the writing is biting, bristling, intelligent."
— Irish Times on Family Trust
"Wang is a first-time novelist — but it's so appealing, warm and witty, we’re betting it’ll catch on in a big way."
— AARP on Family Trust