Kevin Kwan’s first novel, Crazy Rich Asians*, is the perfect read to cuddle up to as these colder winter nights settle in and be absorbed into a world of private planes, purchasing of dresses that cost more then my London Flat (!) and the inevitable, unavoidable family troubles. Centering around three old money families; The Youngs, The Shangs and The T’Siens I was drawn in before the first page as Kevin lays out the family tree with annotations that peak at the wittiness of his writing and the story to come. Poor Auntie Wind Tunnel, named by her younger relatives due to an unfortunate face lift in Argentina is just one anecdote setting the story before your start!
The majority of the book is based in 2010 however there is a prologue in 1986 which perfectly sets up the main characters relationships, sense of entitlement or lack of and the absolute power these families wield. Nicholas Young has decided to bring his ABC (American Born Chinese) girlfriend, Rachel Chu, home to Hong Kong. He intends to just introduce her his family and friends however sensing a potential proposal various people within his group help and hinder him whilst Rachel suddenly needs to get up to speed on designer fashion, appropriate number of dress changes per event and the complexities of a controlling family.
Kevin Kwan sets this story against the wedding of the century allowing him to describe a world of luxury, extravagance and a new level of normalisation. The characters liken private planes to catching a bus without the extra sweaty people and remember fondly a time when they booked out all of first class for only a handful of people because private planes weren’t available back then! I suspect Kevin has some personal, first hand insight into this world as his descriptions of the power plays and the settings are incredibly detailed and have you picking sides within minutes. Kevin’s background is in the arts having grown up in Singapore and the US doing projects for big names including Oprah and his instagram is one of the most beautiful I have come across.
If you are looking for a Christmas stocking book I would recommend this one. It is an easy read and also wouldn’t go astray being read on the beach. Personally I read mine in Cuba and have ordered China Rich Girlfriend* for my Christmas stocking this year!
Happy booking! PF xo
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