Read advance reader review of The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang, page 4 of 4

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The Family Chao

A Novel

by Lan Samantha Chang

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang X
The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2022, 320 pages

    Aug 30, 2022, 320 pages


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There are currently 27 member reviews
for The Family Chao
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  • Karna B. (Long Beach, CA)
    The Family Chao
    Having read a brief summary of The Brothers Karamazov, The Family Chao appears to be a modern Chinese version of the book. That said, I think Change did a superb job of creating her characters and making them come alive. You feel for each of the protagonists as they each deal with aspects of filial obligation/expectations, family dysfunction, faith, passion and work ethic. And then there is the mystery surrounding a suspicious death and trial which to me was the most compelling part of the book. Chang creates a gripping ending for this well-written and very readable book.
  • Susan S. (Salida, CO)
    Dostoevsky in America today
    This was a hard read for me but I'm glad I stuck with it. It gives new insight to the immigrant experience, both as new immigrants and as middle-American residents of the second generation. The author did a great job with portrayal of a multitude of characters in modern but difficult and complicated circumstances. It was serious and funny, at times outlandish and other times, very ordinary. I got bogged down in the middle but stuck with the brothers and their women. A good choice for book clubs, particularly if they read the original Brothers Karamazov first! Lots of meat for discussion.
  • Anna M. (Dallas, TX)
    Love/Loss/Loyalty/Mystery - The Family Chao
    Love, loss, loyalty, and family are central to Chang's The Family Chao – with a few Asian traditions that add an unusual twist to the story. An immigrant family, the Chao's face struggles as they strive to make a success of their lives in the US. The real story, however, is in the struggles the family face between each other. Chang takes what might seem like the story of immigrants striving for the American Dream and puts it into the context of a dysfunctional family. This makes the story what it becomes – a story of people held together by blood and culture. And secrets and mystery.

    The first 75 pages center around character development and backstory, but the book snowballs into a significant conclusion. If you can make it past the first part of the book, the rest will have you reading nonstop until the end.

    Note: Crude language is used for character development, especially at the beginning of the book. This may be off-putting to some readers.
  • Cynthia V. (New York, NY)
    Well-Written, But Unsure
    I came away from just having finished this book feeling somewhat mystified as to why I felt something was missing for me. It's well-written, for sure, with well developed characters and sense of place. Perhaps it's because I've not read The Brothers Karamazov? Perhaps because I can't relate to this particular immigrant experience? I did enjoy the reading experience, especially as it picked up as it went along. I appreciated all the storytelling and intelligence and interweaving of characters that were within this book. However, it was always at a clinical distance from being totally engaged. That being said, it is definitely a worthwhile experience. And possibly, with time and discussion, I will gain more appreciation for the book.
  • Kathy W WIsconsin
    The Family Chao
    I feel bad about not being able to rate this book higher because 1) I really liked Ms Chang's other books and 2) because it is very well written. That being said, it was a struggle for me to finish. I didn't like any of the characters and the plot seemed a bit contrived in places.

    I don't know to whom I would recommend this book although it would be a good choice for book clubs interested in discussing themes of complicated family relationships, the immigrant experience, and family owned businesses.
  • Nancy C. (The Villages, FL)
    the family chao
    I initially enjoyed this book. I found it very interesting to read about family dynamics in the Chao family.

    After reading about one third of the book, I began to find it tedious. I know the tension was to supposed to build up but I didn't feel it. To be honest, if I didn't have to review the book, I probably wouldn't have finished it.

Beyond the Book:
  The Brothers Karamazov

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