Crazy Rich Asians is really having its moment in the sun with the recent release of the movie adaption of the same name, so it was the obvious choice for my beach bag, when I spent a couple of weeks in Byron recently. Written by Kevin Kwan, it’s the first in a trilogy, is told from the perspectives of the five key characters and is a satirical, epic yarn which brings together two different cultures and classes with disastrous results. When Chinese-American Economics professor Rachel Chu is invited by her Singaporean boyfriend, Nick, to attend his best mate’s wedding back home, she is looking forward to meeting the family of the man she loves; little does she know that Nick is the son and heir of one of Singapore’s wealthiest families and that his rich, scheming family will do whatever it takes to get her out of the picture. That’s where the story starts, and the fun begins, so if you’re thinking of giving it a read on your hols, here’s my review of Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan!
So, what did I think?
As a longtime devotee of Jilly Cooper and shows like Downton Abbey with casts of thousands and storylines which leap from location to glamorous location, I thought that that this would be right up my alley; and it was! Let’s face it, any story that sweeps from New York to Singapore and is littered with excessive wealth, high fashion, Hermès bags and extravagant interiors is going to be a guilty pleasure of a page turner and is alright by me!
So what did I enjoy?
I found the setting fascinating as I know literally nothing about the history of this part of the world, the mind-boggling levels of wealth in the area and the cultural divisions between the mainland Chinese and islanders; it felt like I was watching an episode of The Real Housewives of Singapore crossed with The Kardashians. On acid!
I found the dichotomy of old and new money fascinating – how some flaunt it, whilst some hide it quite painfully and compete to be the poorest in their peer groups – as well as the ridiculous property portfolios and scale of wealth that is almost comical. I loved the outrageous characters which are almost caricature-like in the way that Kwan sketches them with such satirical broad strokes.
He insists however that the truth is more extravagant than his fiction, that his editor often made him tone things down and he’s not one of the Crazy Rich Asians who he writes about. But he’s far from impoverished and clearly writes about the Singaporean glitterati from an informed perspective, which makes the excess even more crazy to comprehend because you know it’s real!
I always love it when I catch on to a trilogy a bit later in the piece as I don’t have to wait for the next one to come out and I’ll be cracking straight into the sequels; China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems. Just like the first in the series, I’m sure that they’ll be veritable romps and perfect for a day by the pool (or on the sofa) and I for one, can’t wait to see if Nick and Rachel make it down the aisle, the lengths that his mum will no doubt go to, to try and prevent this happening and the details of Rachel’s birth father as they emerge; will she be taking her place next to Nick as an Asian princess or a pauper?
Did you like this review? If you’re looking for inspo for your next read, head on over to the Books section of my blog as there’s bound to be something that you fancy!