“Neither typical thriller nor contemporary tech drama, this is a quick and engaging read, perfect for a summer afternoon.
Julia is a woman in the upper echelons of male-dominated Silicon Valley and a spy with misgivings; to say her day-to-day life is fraught would be an understatement. Alice is a young woman whose day-to-day life is routine, her work comprised of mundane server checks and her personal relationships floundering. Soon, though, their daily lives collide, each of them navigating a way out of the world Wang has built, both satirical in its cat-and-mouse setup and its skewered tech company.”
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.