Jade Chang's new novel is The Wangs vs. the World.
From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: You’ve said that you wanted to “write an immigrant novel that was kind of a rebellion against immigrant novels.” Can you say more about that, and about how you came up with the idea for the Wang family?--Marshal Zeringue
A: Sure! I think that traditionally, in America, stories of immigrant and people of color that get a platform are generally stories of pain.
Sometimes it’s small-scale pain, like the problem of not fitting in to mainstream society, and sometimes it’s far more large-scale, like the giant pain of slavery. When those are the only stories that get told, everyone loses.
And that’s not to say that I don’t love many of the immigrant novels that have come before mine, it’s just that I think it’s time that we heard another kind of story. And I think many people agree—in 2016 we’ve seen an increasingly broader range of narratives.
With the Wangs, I knew that I wanted to write about a family that was larger-than-life and genuinely fun to read about, who do not see themselves as outsiders. That thought doesn’t even enter their minds! They are absolutely central to their own stories, and to the story of America.
Q: Money is a big issue throughout the novel. Why did you decide to focus on that as one of the novel’s themes?
A: Money is endlessly interesting because, of course, money isn’t just money! It’s a symbol of how we place value on something, and it can buy freedom just as easily as it can buy a material good, if you know how to use it.
Also, I really wanted to...[read on]