The Family Chao Pdf Summary Reviews By Lan Samantha Chang

The Family Chao Pdf Summary

An acclaimed storyteller returns with “a gorgeous and gripping literary mystery” that explores “family, betrayal, passion, race, culture and the American Dream” (Jean Kwok).

The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao Restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, happy to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. But when brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo Chao is found dead―presumed murdered―his sons discover that they’ve drawn the exacting gaze of the entire town.

The ensuing trial brings to light potential motives for all three brothers: Dagou, the restaurant’s reckless head chef; Ming, financially successful but personally tortured; and the youngest, gentle but lost college student James. Brimming with heartbreak, comedy, and suspense, The Family Chao offers a kaleidoscopic, highly entertaining portrait of a Chinese American family grappling with the dark undercurrents of a seemingly pleasant small town.


The Family Chao Review


2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like it, but the writing is disappointing

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 2, 2022

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With all the hype around this novel and the fact that its author is the program director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, I was expecting a higher level of craft. Chang seemed to rely too heavily on the writing style of Dostoevsky and the book she is retelling (The Brothers Karamazov), but didn’t modernize that style believably.

The pace is a slog. The characters all seem to reveal way too much without any lead up or reason. The dialogue is clunky and long-winded. Frankly, the way the brothers talk to each other . . . men don’t talk to each other with such straightforward, effusive feelings, especially where there is so much family baggage.

The youngest son, who is supposed to be a college freshman coming home for Christmas break, is presented like he has been away for years, yet behaves like a 12 year old. Many of the scenes do not seem plausible for today’s society. One scene has two women who are not friends and are in competition with each other for a romantic relationship with one of the brothers, hanging out together during a snow storm at one of their homes. Why would two independent women do that in today’s world? In Dostoevsky’s time/place – Russia/1800s – sure, maybe, because they would live in the same household or royal court or convent.

Not only am I disappointed in the author, considering her background and educations, I’m more disappointed in the publisher for relying on the fact of Chang’s position and resume for signing this book and marketing it so heavily. There are so many great, original, well-written novels from talented authors telling untold stories that go unpublished and unsupported. This just shows the state of the publishing industry today and it is sad.

Harvee L.


5.0 out of 5 stars An Immigrant Chinese Family In Small Town America

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 2, 2022

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s amazing that a chance encounter with a stranger carrying a small fortune in his bag would lead to the downfall of the Chao family patriarch, owner of the Chao restaurant, and lead to suspicion falling on the three sons. James, the youngest son, helping an old Chinese man at the train station began the turmoil of events. Little did anyone know that the bag, forgotten in the back of a car, would be removed and transported to different places and cause a major problem for the Chao family.

How the three brothers stick together, however, facing the insults and disdain of their overbearing father during the illness and the death of their mother, and how they rally to each other’s defense is admirable given the situation. Family secrets also prove fatal in this family saga.

I enjoyed the characterization of each son, so different from one another, and the plot in this domestic drama. There is a murder mystery to be solved, also, but I liked that the brothers join together in the face of possible, pending tragedy.


2.0 out of 5 stars No Answers

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 1, 2022

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Spoilers in this review. There has been a trend recently to make books “ambiguous,” and I really don’t like it. Unfortunately this book is completely ambiguous. The book is centered around a murder mystery. Every character has motive, and every character could of done it. But the book doesn’t answer its main mystery, plus several mysteries along the way letting the audience decide who did it. What a cop out. If the author can’t make choices why should we readers do the same.
Some sections are well written, but the book is tedious in points. The ending besides not answering any questions comes abruptly, and we get like a page and a half wrapping everything up – almost as if the author simply ran out of time. I wouldn’t recommend this book.

About Lan Samantha Chang Author Of The Family Chao pdf Book

Lan Samantha Chang
Lan Samantha Chang

Lan Samantha Chang Author Of The Family Chao pdf Book was born in Appleton, Wisconsin and attended college at Yale where she earned her bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies. She worked in publishing in New York City briefly before getting her MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford. She is currently the Elizabeth M. Stanley Professor in the Arts at the University of Iowa and the Director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the first woman, and the first Asian American, to hold that position.

Chang’s first book is a novella and short stories, titled Hunger (1998). The stories are set in the US and China, and they explore home, family, and loss. The New York Times Book Review called it “Elegant.… A delicately calculated balance sheet of the losses and gains of immigrants whose lives are stretched between two radically different cultures.” The Washington Post called it “A work of gorgeous, enduring prose.” Her first novel, Inheritance (2004), is about a family torn apart by the Japanese invasion during World War II. The Boston Globe said: “The story…is foreign in its historical sweep and social detail but universal in its emotional truth.” Chang’s latest novel, All Is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost (2011), follows two poets and their friendship as they explore the depths and costs of making art. The book received a starred review from Booklist and praise: “Among the many threads Chang elegantly pursues—the fraught relationships between mentors and students, the value of poetry, the price of ambition—it is her indelible portrait of the loneliness of artistic endeavor that will haunt readers the most in this exquisitely written novel about the poet’s lot.” Chang’s fourth book and third novel, The Family Chao, is forthcoming in 2022.

Chang has received fellowships from MacDowell, the American Library in Paris, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

As the fifth director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Chang has been fundamental to the increase of racial, cultural, and aesthetic diversity within the program, and has mentored a number of emerging writers. In 2019, she received the Michael J. Brody Award and the Regents’ Award for Excellence from the University of Iowa.

The Family Chao pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information

The Family Chao pdf Book
The Family Chao pdf Book
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (February 1, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0393868079
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0393868074
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.13 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: #34,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • #235 in Cultural Heritage Fiction
  • #1,832 in Family Life Fiction (Books)
  • #3,041 in Literary Fiction (Books)
  • Customer Reviews: 3.9 out of 5 stars    947 ratings

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