Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan

2017-05-08-crazy-rich-asians-by-kevin-kwan
You know that bit in celebrity magazine interviews where they list in painstaking detail the outfit the actress is wearing? Or describe her utterly fabulous house? Well, picture an entire book composed of those paragraphs, and you'd be covering at least 75% of the plot of Kevin Kwan's 2013 novel Crazy Rich Asians.

Kwan's novel centers around Rachel Chu, an American-born-Chinese college professor who has just agreed to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick Young. Unfortunately, Nick's vague descriptions of his childhood leave Rachel totally unprepared for his family and friends' version of reality—a world of private jets, jaw-dropping fortunes, and world-class snobbery. Rachel isn't ashamed of her middle-class background, but she is about to meet an small army of ultra-wealthy socialites, all of whom are determined to put her in her place.

While the movie adaptation of this novel was apparently pushed as “Pride and Prejudice meets The Devil Wears Prada”, Nick and Rachel are no Elizabeth and Darcy. On the contrary, they're closer to Gossip Girl's Serena and Nate—as boring as they are blandly idealized. Thankfully, the rest of the book offsets their insipidity, blending together gossip, backbiting family drama, and lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous literary tourism. Crazy Rich Asians is pretty much my platonic ideal of airplane reading: smart, light, and juicy enough to distract you from even the most annoying seatmate.
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Posted by: Julianka

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