The Partner Track

A Novel

Helen Wan

St. Martin's Press

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A young attorney must choose between the prestige of partnership and  the American Dream that she—and her immigrant parents—have come so close to achieving in The Partner Track, a riveting debut from Helen Wan

In the eyes of her corporate law firm, Ingrid Yung is a “two-fer.” As a Chinese-American woman about to be ushered into the elite rank of partner, she’s the face of Parsons Valentine & Hunt LLP’s recruiting brochures--their treasured "Golden Girl." But behind the firm’s welcoming façade lies the scotch-sipping, cigar-smoking old-boy network that shuts out lawyers like Ingrid. To compensate, Ingrid gamely plays in the softball league, schmoozes in the corporate cafeteria, and puts in the billable hours—until a horrifically offensive performance at the law firm’s annual summer outing throws the carefully constructed image way out of equilibrium.

Scrambling to do damage control, Parsons Valentine announces a new “Diversity Initiative” and commands a reluctant Ingrid to spearhead the effort, taking her priority away from the enormous deal that was to be the final step in securing partnership. For the first time, Ingrid finds herself at odds with her colleagues—including her handsome, golden-boy boyfriend—in a clash of class, race, and sexual politics.

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Book Excerpts

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ONE
 
 
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 a 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

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Reviews

Praise for The Partner Track

"Smart, incisive, and fast-paced, THE PARTNER TRACK is a sparklingly readable look at the inner workings of a Wall Street law firm -- from the vantage point of a brainy, beautiful and self-doubting Asian-American associate. Wan has the remarkable ability to make you feel as if "you are there" -- inside the law firm, inside protagonist Ingrid Yung's head. I did not want to put this book down."
--Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

“Behind Helen Wan’s wit and sparkling prose is a poignant and at times, painfully honest tale of loyalty, ambition and sacrifice.  Funny, fragile, sometimes bold, often unsure, Ingrid Yung is one of those unforgettable heroines that you actually miss, like a dear friend, when the story’s over.”
--Ann Leary, New York Times bestselling author of The Good House

“What a terrific debut novel.  Ingrid Yung is a fresh, funny, and fearless heroine.  Her razor-sharp wit and keen observations of gender, race and class politics in corporate America make THE PARTNER TRACK an entertaining, engrossing and ultimately deeply compelling read.”
Cristina Alger, author of The Darlings

"A wholly engrossing behind-the-scenes look at real life behind the pomp, power and prestige of a high-powered law firm that wants to still play by a 1950s rule book." --Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus, co-authors of Citizen Girl and The Nanny Diaries

The Partner Track is a marvelous story about female ambition and power, about betrayal, identity, and the conflict between self-interest and desire. In short: all the big, human stuff. Read it.” –Alison Clement, author of Twenty Questions

“Hell hath no fury like Helen Wan's savvy heroine in this terrific debut.  We all know women like Ingrid Yung:  the well-educated over-achiever who does everything right to ensure a long, productive journey on a lucrative career path.  But what happens when someone blows up the path?  The Partner Track is a delicious, satisfying read for anyone who has fantasized about getting the better of the boss, the ex-lover, the corporate powers that be--or all three.  Ingrid Yung has done it for all of us.” –Kristin van Ogtrop, author of Just Let Me Lie Down and editor of Real Simple

"From lawyer-turned-author Helen Wan comes an illuminating look at the social and racial politics at a prestigious New York law firm." --Audrey Magazine

“A master storyteller...Wan paints a realistic and immersing portrait of the elite world of corporate law.  She had me rooting for Ingrid’s success and happiness from the first chapter.” 
--Real Simple

"Engaging and suspenseful . . . She dissects the tokens of status in this world in a manner that’s reminiscent of Tom Wolfe.” –Wall Street Journal

“Wan succeeds in exploring and fictionalizing the timely topics of sexism and racism in workplace politics in a fluent, thought-provoking, and compelling tale.” --Booklist

“Wan has written a sensitive story of discrimination faced in ‘old boy’ law firms in particular but also in the world in general . . . intriguing and entertaining. This reviewer is looking to Wan’s next novel.”
Library Journal


"THE PARTNER TRACK romances us with power, all the while revealing the betrayal, bigotry and illusion congealed inside of it." –Amherst Magazine

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About the Author

Helen Wan

HELEN WAN is Associate General Counsel at the Time Inc. division of Time Warner Inc. Before that, she practiced corporate law and media law at law firms in New York.  Born in California and raised near Washington, D.C., Wan is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her essays and reviews of fiction have been published in The Washington Post and elsewhere. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her husband and son.

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Helen Wan

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Partner Track
A Novel
Helen Wan

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
September 2013
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781250019578
ISBN10: 1250019575
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$25.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
September 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781250019585
ISBN10: 1250019583
320 pages
$12.99
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