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A complicated Chinese American family, a small Wisconsin city and a crisis that's been building for years

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Author Lan Samantha Chang, University of Iowa professor and director of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, explores identity and belonging in her third novel about a Chinese American family and the death that causes their simmering resentments to erupt.

The novel The Family Chao takes us into the heart of a complicated Chinese American family, living in a small city in Wisconsin. Their family restaurant is beloved, but we meet the family at the point of crisis — a crisis that has been building for years. On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to author Lan Samantha Chang about her third novel The Family Chao.

This episode was originally produced Feb. 2, 2022.


  • Lan Samantha Chang, author, program director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Elizabeth M. Stanley Professor in the Arts, University of Iowa
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.