12 Feb 2019
A View of the Valley
Kathy Wang’s debut novel offers a fictional look at the California tech sectorTopics:
Photo via Wired, courtesy of Kathy Wang
When Kathy Wang (MBA 2011) sat down to write her first work of fiction, after years of working as a product manager at big tech companies, the California native says she wrote what she knew. Her debut novel, Family Trust, peeks behind the curtains of Silicon Valley’s tech culture and the fight to the top of the food chain—a story told through lens of a Taiwanese-American family, the Huangs.
It’s an unblinking look at some of the Valley’s foibles, from fixations on socioeconomic status to job titles and personal success and cultural expectations, Nitasha Tiku writes in “Family Trust Shows Silicon Valley’s Secret Obsessions,” a recent article in Wired. But the book offers much more, according to Tiku:
Family Trust … is most deft when the competing demands of race, class, and gender intersect. Kate, the daughter, spends a lot of time managing male expectations at work and at home (with both her dad and her husband, an aspiring startup founder who was the ninth engineer at Google and has never gotten over leaving too early). Fred, the son, seems driven by the unspoken understanding that if he doesn’t distinguish himself, he’ll be all but invisible. “In the Valley, especially if you're Asian or Indian or a minority, you're middle-class up until you're a zillionaire. It’s like there are two classes: famous Asian—being Asian or Indian or something—and regular Asian. That’s it,” says Wang.
Class of MBA 2011, Section C