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Crazy Rich Asians (Kwan) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
When Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians has a mother in Singapore telling her girls to finish everything on their plates because ‘there are children starving in America,’ it’s O.K. to get the joke. There’s no need to dwell on what it really means. Crazy Rich Asians is this summer’s "Bergdorf Blondes," over-the-top funny and a novelty to boot. Mr. Kwan delivers nonstop hoots about a whole new breed of rich, vulgar, brand-name-dropping conspicuous consumers, with its own delicacies, curses, vices, stereotypes ("I hope she’s not one of those Taiwanese tornadoes!") and acronyms. According to Mr. Kwan, this crowd uses U.B.C., as the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, is known, to mean "University of a Billion Chinese." How rich and vulgar are the Anglophile Asians of this debut novel? Rich enough to throw a diamond of more than 30 carats into a snowdrift and not look for it. So vulgar that a Cirque du Soleil troupe has to show up to convey that things have gotten crass. So steeped in wretched excess that one man boasts about the precise temperature his climate-controlled shoe closet should be.
Janet Maslin - New York Times


Crazy Rich Asians is both a deliciously satiric read and a Fodor’s of sorts to the world of Singapore’s fabulously monied, both new and old.
Sherryl Connelly - New York Daily News


An entertaining and well-written book about the life of the Chinese super-rich, a new class who are keeping alive five-star hotels, restaurants and luxury shops around the world.... The wealth of the book is in the detail—of the personalities, the places, the clothes and the colours of Singapore, Kwan's native place.
Louise Rosario - South China Morning Post


Deliciously decadent.... Rachel, an American-born Chinese (ABC), has no idea what to expect when she visits Singapore to meet her boyfriend Nick’s multibillionaire family. There, she discovers mind-blowing opulence—next season’s couture, palatial properties, million-dollar shopping sprees—and the over-the-top bad behavior that comes with it.... This 48-karat beach read is crazy fun.
Stephan Lee - Entertainment Weekly


There’s rich, there’s filthy rich, and then there’s crazy rich.... A Pride and Prejudice-like send-up about an heir bringing his Chinese-American girlfriend home to meet his ancestor-obsessed family, the book hilariously skewers imperial splendor and the conniving antics of the Asians jet set.
People


Crazy Rich Asians is like Dynasty on steroids with more private jets, bigger houses, and a lot more money. It is the very definition of a beach read. I finished it over a weekend and by the end was longing to see the ridiculously extravagant and over-the-top world that Mr. Kwan had created.... I predict this will be the 50 Shades of Grey of this summer.”
Michael Carl - VanityFair.com


It’s impossible not to get sucked into this satirical novel about the jet-setting lives of an enormous busybody family and its infinite Louboutin collection.
Glamour


Read Kevin Kwan’s debut, Crazy Rich Asians, on an exotic beach in super-expensive sunglasses.... [Rachel] encounters outre fashion, private jets, and a set of aristocratic values so antiquated they’d make the Dowager Countess proud.
Entertainment Weekly


With his debut novel, [Kwan] delivers an uproarious, comical satire about a jet-set life that most of us can only imagine. It’s a page-turner that will leave you wanting more.”
Claudia McNeilly - Hello! Magazine (Canada)


Mordantly funny.... In Kevin Kwan’s winning summer satire, Crazy Rich Asians, a young woman discovers her boyfriend belongs to a milieu of unimaginable splendor—and snobbery.
Vogue


Kwan’s debut novel is a fun, over-the-top romp through the unbelievable world of the Asian jet set, where anything from this season is already passé and one’s pedigree is everything. When Rachel Chu’s boyfriend, Nick Young, invites her home to Singapore for the summer, she doesn’t realize how much gossip she’s generated among Asian socialites around the world. To Rachel, Nick is a sweet, intelligent history professor—and the first man she’s imagined marrying. To the Asian billionaire set, he’s the gorgeous heir apparent to one of China’s most “staggeringly rich” and well-established families who virtually control the country’s commerce with their ancient fortunes. As soon as she steps off the plane, Rachel is ushered into the opulent world of castle-like estates and mind-boggling luxury. As if the shock of realizing the scale of Nick’s wealth is not enough, she must also contend with a troupe of cruel socialites who would absolutely die before they let Singapore’s most eligible bachelor get snapped up by a no-name “ABC” (American-born Chinese). There is also Nick’s family—his imposing mother, Eleanor, who has exact ideas about who Nick should be dating; his beautiful cousin Astrid, who the younger girls dub “the Goddess” for her stunning fashion sense (she was “the first to pair a vintage Saint Laurent Le Smoking jacket with three-dollar batik shorts”); and Nick’s cousin, the flamboyant Oliver, who helps Rachel navigate this strange new world. A witty tongue-in-cheek frolic about what it means to be from really old money and what it’s like to be crazy rich. (June)
Publishers Weekly


When Nicholas Young asks American-born Rachel Chu to summer with him at his home in Singapore, she doesn't realize that he is in fact heir to one of Asia's wealthiest families. Juicy stuffy that's culturally interesting for clarifying the difference between mainland and overseas Chinese; billed as Jackie Collins meets Amy Tan.
Library Journal


(Starred review.) Jane Austen, or maybe Edith Wharton, goes to Singapore, turning in this lively, entertaining novel of manners. You've got to like any novel set in Asia that includes, among many splendid one-liners, this amah's admonition: "Don't you know there are children starving in America?" Of varying ethnicities but resolutely members of the 1 percent or aspiring, one way or another, to be so, Kwan's characters are urban sophisticates par excellence, many of them familiar with the poshest districts of London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong. Many of them are also adrift, with soulless consumerism replacing society: It's Less Than Zero without all the coke. When socialite Astrid, for instance, is in a mood, as she so often is, she goes shopping in boutiques haunted by "the wives of Persian Gulf sheikhs, Malay sultans, and the Indonesian Chinese oligarchs." Not half-bad company, but then Astrid moves in a rarefied circle around the richest of the rich. At its center is 32-year-old Nicholas Young, whose ABC girlfriend--American-born Chinese, that is--Rachel Chu, has come to Singapore to meet the family. To Nick's credit, she is taken aback by just how phenomenally wealthy they are. "It's like any big family," Nick assures her. "I have loudmouth uncles, eccentric aunts, obnoxious cousins, the whole nine yards." Well, and then some. Rachel discovers that the position of being Nick's intended isn't an easy one--not only are there other would-be plutocrats gunning for the spot, but the family also doesn't make things easy, either. A diverse set of characters and a light, unstrained touch move Kwan's story along. Yet, even though one feels for Rachel, there's a point--right about at the spot where one of her new girlfriends is showing off the yoga studio inside daddy's new jet--that one gets the feeling that Ho Chi Minh might have had a point after all. An elegant comedy and an auspicious debut.
Kirkus Reviews




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