Rich People Problems (Kwan) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for Rich People Problems …then take off on your own:

1. A good place to start a discussion for Rich People Problems is perhaps here: what's wrong with these people? And another starting point: what's funny about them—plastic surgery for a droopy-eyed fish, maybe? (By the way, according to author Kevin Kwan, plastic surgery for fish "absolutely, 100 percent" exists in Singapore.)

2. Characters in all three of Kevin Kwan's novels define themselves by what and how much they own. Talk about the ways in which money and status permeate every social interaction in this book, even the most private relationships. Compare this level of class-consciousness with other well-known stories of the rich and privileged, say, Downton Abbey or even further back in time to say Pride and Prejudice.

3. Talking openly about expensive brands of clothing or cars is prevalent in the book—and in real Singapore high-society, according to Kwan. It's almost like talking about sports, he says, while in the U.S. it's considered flashy and vulgar. What do you think? Is brand-name-dropping simply being honest…or is it boastful?

4. Who is your favorite character and your least favorite? Is anyone authentic in Rich People Problems? Is anyone not obsessed with materialism?

5. The novel is clearly satirical. What is Kwan skewering? Who and what best typifies the object of his satire? What moments seem particularly barbed to you?

6. In China Rich Girlfriend (book two of the trilogy), a family friend tries to warn Nick against possible disinheritance should he marry Rachel: "in everyone's eyes, you are nothing without Tyersall Park,"  the woman tells him. What does that mean? Might Tyersall Park be considered a sort of character unto itself in this book?

7. This novel makes use of flashbacks to reveal Su Yi's backstory. What do we learn about her past life?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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