|Helen Wan photo by Sigrid Estrada|
"What happens to these hyphenated Americans, these Minority Darlings, when they are finally within striking distance of The American Dream, the one their immigrant parents have been hoping to see them achieve all their lives?"Wan's debut novel, The Partner Track, is set at a top New York law firm, following its characters from boardroom to bedroom. An in house attorney at Time Inc, the author translates the complexities of legal issues clearly for a general audience. Romantic shenanigans and corporate intrigue make for a fun read with unexpected plot twists.
The Partner Track is more commercial than literary in style, but it has substance. The most touching segments were flashbacks to Ingrid's childhood and the discrimination her immigrant parents faced. Visiting a friend at a luxurious New York apartment, her academic father is mistaken for a Chinese food delivery man and asked to use the back door. An appliance store refuses to fix her mom's defective machine until young Ingrid pens a letter in legal ease. Ingrid realizes that law is power and dreams of earning a spot in the glitzy New York skyline.
Many readers would relate to Ingrid's ambitions, but I found her world too materialistic and shallow. Like her law school professor, I wish Ingrid had used her talent for the greater good, but challenging corporate America to be more inclusive is admirable too. Ingrid is a morally grounded character who sees the flaws in her world. I hope Wan's next novel will step out of the boardroom and into the broader realm of social justice. I'd be more eager to read a book like that, but The Partner Track succeeds on its own terms. It would be a good match for readers interested in law, feminism, immigration and ethnic literature. It's a must read for anyone (male or female) contemplating a career in corporate law.
|Another shot of Central Park last week. I went back home to see an all male performance of Shakespeare's |
Twelfth Night on Broadway: marvelous! Arrive early to watch the cross-dressing actors made up on stage.
Reviewer's Disclosure: I bought the ebook myself without compensation. On her website, the lawyer-author reminds the readers that her book is fiction. Published by St. Martin's Press in September, 2013. Thanks, Colleen, for the recommendation. Check out Books in the City for more novels about immigrants and working women in contemporary America. The Central Park photos are under my copyright.
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