Struggling to fulfill their dying father’s final bequest, a privileged Chinese-American family in Silicon Valley is forced to contend with the truth of their own lives in this clever and perceptive family drama that combines the warmth of The Nest, the humor of Crazy Rich Asians, and the dark optimism of Behold the Dreamers. When Stanley Huang is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his family is thrown into turmoil. While his children are concerned for their father, they can’t help but wonder what his death will mean for their own futures. Stanley has long alluded that he’s worth a fortune. But neither his children nor his wife know exactly how much he has—or who will get it.
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For his son Fred, a few million would soothe the pain caused by years of professional disappointment. By now, the Harvard Business School graduate had expected to be a financial tech god—not a minor investor at a middling corporate firm, where he isn’t even allowed to fly business class. Stanley’s daughter, Kate, is a middle manager with one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious tech companies. She manages the capricious demands of her world-famous boss and the needs of her two young children while supporting her would-be entrepreneur husband—just until his startup gets off the ground. But when one of the balls she’s juggling unexpectedly drops, she starts to wonder if she really needs to be everything to everyone.Stanley’s second wife, Mary Zhu, twenty-eight years his junior, has devoted herself to making her husband comfortable in every way—rubbing his feet, cooking his favorite dishes, massaging his ego. But lately, her commitment has waned; caring for a dying old man is far more difficult than she expected. Linda Liang, Stanley’s first wife, knows her ex better than anyone. She worked hard for decades to ensure their financial security, and is determined to see her children get their due. Single for nearly a decade, she might finally be ready for some romantic companionship. But where does a seventy-two year old Chinese woman in California go to find a boyfriend?
As Stanley’s death approaches, the Huangs are faced with unexpected challenges that upend them and eventually lead them to discover what they most value. A compelling tale of cultural expectations, career ambitions and our relationships with the people who know us best, People of Means is an indelible portrait of family that offers an illuminating peek at the ambition and desires beneath Silicon Valley life.