I’m living vicariously through the characters in Kevin Kwan’s novel CRAZY RICH ASIANS. It’s been the chatter amongst my friends — asian and otherwise who are craving a glimpse into the world of the super rich. It’s also made it to many bestsellers list quickly since it’s only published in June.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS’ main setting takes place in Singapore surrounding the characters who are there to attend the wedding of the century. There you meet the high society girls who are jostling to get noticed by billionaires and the families who strategically position them. But as expected, there’s an underlying Cinderella story that happens with a commoner. In this case, Rachel Chu –the unassuming and highly educated American Chinese who never paid attention to designer clothes and high society affairs. She also happens to be the girlfriend of one of Singapore’s super pedigreed families. Unaware of her boyfriend’s family legacy and fortunes, Rachel is thrown into the gladiator ring with all eyes fixated on her as she is originally was thought to be semi worthy but it turns out that she is not “that” Rachel Chu of the wealthy Taipei Chu Family. All claws are out with the well-manicured set as they deemed the mild mannered ABC (American Born Chinese) an imposter of wealth and gold-digger. Even Nick’s own dragon mother listens to the fire breathing gossip mongers. If you think the North American tabloids are ruthless, well, the asian high society sends it to the next galaxy.
Kwan plays with our imagination with details of the Nicholas Young’s family estate that is set in central Singapore. It is so well hidden that even a GPS cannot detect it’s existence. But as asian customs go, the elders, always remain the most respected and their wishes are always granted. Su Yi, Nick’s grandmother, throws elegant soirees that are well attended by diplomats and celebrities even if it’s to witness the rare one night blossoming of the tan hua flowers.
The author also lightly weaves in some Asian customs, traditions and funny expressions to the story lines. But if you’re not from that particular culture, not to worry! Kwan explains through footnotes.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS is a light read that is pure comical fun. Highly entertaining and more chick lit than anything else — which kind of surprised me. It’s stuff that dreams are made of…I think.
The novel could totally make the leap to the big screen. Who wants to place bets on this one? Now who could you see playing the various characters? Hmmmm. Let’s think about that one.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS is available in stores – currently on the bestsellers promotion at Chapters/Indigo at 40% off. You can also pre-order it for the Kobo eReader.