Charles Wang is mad at two things: America and history. Charles arrived in America as a poor immigrant from Taiwan with a dream; from there, he built a cosmetics empire and lived a lavish lifestyle that most people in Taiwan can only dream of. Life is grand for Charles and his family until a bad business decision and the 2008 financial crisis leaves him with nothing but a few possessions, a simmering anger, and a desire to go back to China and take back the land that his ancestors lost to the Japanese.
Charles crafts a plan to regain his family’s land, but first, he and his wife, Barbra, will have to drive across the country to the home of his oldest daughter and disgraced artist, Saina, in upstate New York. Along the way, Charles picks up his youngest daughter and fashion blogger, Grace, and son Andrew, an aspiring stand-up comedian. As the miles fall away, we learn more about Charles’s cosmetic business, Barbra’s childhood in Taiwan, Saina’s tumultuous art career, and May Lee, Charles’s first wife and the mother of his children.
The Wangs vs. the World is Jade Chang’s debut novel, and offers a unique perspective of the life an immigrant family and the American Dream. Jade Chang builds a plot that is teeming with conflict, but as the journey continues and challenges arise, each family member comes to find that it’s love, not money, that makes the world turn.