"Crazy Rich Asians" by Kevin Kwan
Rachel Chu has agreed to spend her summer holiday in Singapore with her boyfriend Nicholas Young, a fellow university professor. Nicholas is returning for the wedding of a close friend and this will be the first time Rachel gets to meet his family. Rachel is envisioning a quiet vacation, a humble family home, and plenty of time to explore the island. But what she does not realize is Nicholas is the darling of Singapore's elite society.
Nicholas is the heir of one of Singapore's richest, pedigreed Chinese families. His humble family home is larger than most palaces. His family and friends travel by private plane. And it turns out that Nicholas is one of Singapore's most eligible bachelors. When word spreads that Nicholas is bringing home a girlfriend, an ABC (American-born Chinese), high society finds itself in a flurry. Especially Nicholas' mother, who has some very strong ideas about who her son will, or will not, marry.
Crazy Rich Asians is the hilarious and unforgettable debut novel by Kevin Kwan. With its glittery cover and sensational stories, it is sure to be THE book of the summer. Pop this one out on the beach (or anywhere really) and it will definitely get tongues wagging.
I could not put this book down. Absolutely enjoyed it. It's like the television show Dallas, or Beverly Hills 90210, but set in Asia and on a much, much richer scale. The book centres around three super-rich families, all obsessed with wealth and the honour and prestige that comes along with it. Characters attend the most prestigious of schools around the world, fly to Paris on a whim to shop for couture, and have no qualms about spending $40 million on a wedding. These are people who have no issues with buying a hotel to make a point about its customer service.
While the plot of the book is about Nicholas bringing Rachel home to meet his family and friends, much of the book is really about the lifestyles of the wealthy. In fact, I kind of forgot about the plot while reading the incredible tales of the uber-rich. But that isn't a problem at all. You would think after a couple hundred pages setting up just how wealthy they are, you'd be tired of it but you're not. And when the book begins to show how appearances can be deceiving, it really gets good.
There is definitely a lot going on in this book. There is a large group of characters to keep up with but this does give you a good idea of how the character of Rachel feels when being introduced to it all. It's nice to see the comparison of the generations, for example Nicholas' feelings toward his wealth versus the feelings of his parents. Don't think that this book is just all glitz and scandal, the term beach read is misleading in the case of this book. There is a depth and drama to it that keeps it from being gossipy or pretentious.
I'm sure by now you've heard something about this book. I highly recommend picking it up to see what all the fuss is about. I've got my fingers crossed that we'll be back in Singapore soon to see what else these characters can get up to.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Random House of Canada. The opinions expressed above are purely my own.