16 September 2014

Today's Read: The Partner Track by Helen Wan

The Partner Track by Helen WanHow far would you go to further your career? What if you felt tremendous pressure from your family and from your community? These are very real concerns for Ingrid Young, who is on the verge of making partner at Parsons Valentine, a prestigious international law firm.

The Parsons Valentine dining room--affectionately known as the Jury Box--resembled nothing so much as a high school cafeteria, writ large. We were all older, sure, with expensive haircuts and finely tailored suits. The food was a lot better, and it was served on fine china, classic white with a platinum border. And then there was the view. Instead of a track or football field, our windows overlooked the grand expanse of Fifth Avenue and Central Park. No trophy cases or spirit banners, either, just a vast Ellsworth Kelly painting and a few signed Chuck Close prints adorning the otherwise stark white wall. But these were just trophies of a different sort.
The Partner Track by Helen Wan (St. Martin's Griffin [paperback], 2014, p. 1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: New York City; modern times
  • Circumstances: As Ingrid Young fights to make partner, she begins to wonder if she will advance on her merits or because she is a two-fer: a first-generation Chinese American and a woman. When an uncomfortable situation arises, she is forced to question the real costs of advancement in a white man's world.
  • Characters: Ingrid and her family; various fellow lawyers and clients; a love interest
  • Genre: contemporary fiction; women's fiction
  • Themes: family; ambition; corporate America; enduring discrimination; immigration; ethics
  • What reviewers have said: most reviews have mentioned the well-developed characters and the realism of Ingrid's situation; several mentioned Wan's use of humor to lighten the serious story line
  • A bit about the author: Helen Wan is herself a Chinese American lawyer and thus writes from a place of experience, although the book is entirely fiction. For an interview in which Wan talks about the book and herself, watch the BookGirl video on YouTube. More about Wan and her novel can be found on her website.
  • Recommendations: I haven't even started The Partner Track, but it looks like it would make a great book club pick based on the issues Ingrid faces.


Karen and Gerard 9/16/14, 6:44 AM  

Sounds like this might be an interesting read.

Love Africa Book Club 9/16/14, 6:50 AM  

I enjoyed the descriptions. Lovely teaser.
Here's mine:


Unknown 9/16/14, 7:31 AM  

Sounds promising. I hope you enjoy it.

(Diane) bookchickdi 9/16/14, 7:47 AM  

That is an interesting excerpt.

Unknown 9/16/14, 7:58 AM  

Wonderful writing. It's very telling.
Here is my teaser - http://fuonlyknew.com/2014/09/16/teaser-tuesdays-81-free-short-story-raker-by-christopher-a-gray-move-over-robocop/

bermudaonion 9/16/14, 8:02 AM  

This sounds like a good one!

JoAnn 9/16/14, 8:23 AM  

Haven't heard of this one... sounds pretty good!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 9/16/14, 8:31 AM  

I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on this one. I like the themes of women in the workplace...I used to work in HR at a big bank, so have always been interested in that topic.

Cleopatra Loves Books 9/16/14, 8:59 AM  

I haven't heard of this book before but I do like the premise and the teaser. Here is my TT http://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/teaser-tuesday-september-16/

Daryl 9/16/14, 10:02 AM  

interesting premise … thanks!

grammajudyb 9/16/14, 10:24 AM  

I like women's fiction. This one is one I will add to my ever growing TBR list. Thanks for the intro.

Unknown 9/16/14, 10:39 AM  

This book looks to pose a lot more questions than answers; thanks for sharing!

The Space Between Us | Thrity Umrigar

Margot 9/16/14, 10:49 AM  

Interesting the way the author compared the law office to a high school cafeteria. I'd like to keep reading this one.

Sandra Nachlinger 9/16/14, 11:40 AM  

Good opening. I like the observation that the paintings on the walls are trophies of another sort. I'd keep reading to find out more.
Here's the link to my Tuesday post: Tumbleweeds.

Laurel-Rain Snow 9/16/14, 11:44 AM  

The descriptions in the excerpt give me a strong sense of how intimidating this place might be...it has a coldness.

I feel sorry for anyone trying to "break" into those ranks!

Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “SAFE KEEPING”

Heather 9/16/14, 12:26 PM  

Sounds good, I hope you enjoy it. Mine: Books Can Be Deceiving

Suzie Quint 9/16/14, 12:29 PM  

The blurb is more interesting to me than the opening because I read for character.

Mine's at http://suziequint.blogspot.com/2014/09/tuesday-teaseropening-unveiled.html

Alice Audrey 9/16/14, 3:15 PM  

Same old high school politics, maybe?

Unknown 9/16/14, 3:37 PM  

Sounds beautiful but of course, some people never grow out of their high school mentalities. Nice tease, thanks for sharing!
My Teasers.

Tina 9/16/14, 3:40 PM  

I know I would never have what it takes to make it in corporate life but I would enjoy reading about Ingrid's journey. Sounds like good women's fiction.

Anonymous,  9/16/14, 3:49 PM  

Sounds interesting!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 9/16/14, 8:08 PM  

fun intro - hope the rest is good as well - enjoy.

kayerj 9/16/14, 11:45 PM  

Some people never grow up? I'd have to read a bit more before deciding. Have a nice week. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

Tea 9/17/14, 1:28 AM  

The plot didn't grab me. The lovely descriptions did grab me. I really like this author's writing style. Enjoy.

Booksnyc 9/21/14, 1:23 PM  

I read this last year and really enjoyed it - I was initially drawn by the immigrant theme but the book offers much more. I am glad to see that it is enjoying success!

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