Featured on Barack Obama's 2022 Summer Reading List An NPR and Vogue Best Book of the Year One of Literary Hub's and The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of 2022 A Goodreads Readers' Most Anticipated Mystery of 2022 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, content to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. Whether or not Big Leo Chao is honest, or his wife, Winnie, is happy, their food tastes good and their three sons earned scholarships to respectable colleges. But when the brothers reunite in Haven, the Chao family’s secrets and simmering resentments erupt at last.
Before long, brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo is found dead—presumed murdered—and his sons find 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. As the spotlight on the brothers tightens—and the family dog meets an unexpected fate—Dagou, Ming, and James must reckon with the legacy of their father’s outsized appetites and their own future survival.
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.
Lan Samantha Chang is the author of three novels: The Family Chao, Inheritance, and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. Her work has been translated into nine languages. The director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she lives in Iowa City.