Custom House Impostor Syndrome
Custom House Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome

By Kathy Wang

$27.99

Publication Date: June 15, 2021

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From the critically acclaimed author of Family Trust comes a new Silicon Valley satire, exploring the cutthroat world of women in tech through the lens of a thrilling tale of foreign espionage and secrets.

In 2006 Julia Lerner is in Moscow, a recent university graduate in computer science, when she’s recruited by Russia’s largest intelligence agency. By 2018 she’s living in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America’s most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self promotional activities (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia is upping the asks, and Julia’s getting nervous.

Alice is a first generation Chinese American whose parents are delighted she’s working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she’s slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial “founder’s girlfriend”. One afternoon, while performing a routine server check, Alice discovers some suspicious activity, and now she’s burdened with two powerful but distressing pieces of knowledge: Tangerine’s privacy settings aren’t as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself.

The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she built her career herself; isn’t she entitled to protect the lifestyle she’s earned? Part page-turning cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, Impostor Syndrome is a shrewdly-observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream.

 

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