Although I tell myself I really don’t care what other people think, secretly I was a little worried at quite how much I enjoyed “Crazy Rich Asians”.
So obviously I googled reviews of the book, & was relieved beyond measure when I read this comment in a 2013 review of the book in the New York Times:
“Mr. Kwan knows how to deliver guilty pleasures. He keeps the repartee nicely outrageous, the excess wretched and the details wickedly delectable.”
Totally spot on.
There is delicious designer-name-dropping throughout the novel, and it rapidly becomes totally addictive to see who is buying what and wearing what.
The premise of the book is quite simple.
Rachel Chu, ethnically Chinese but brought up and educated in the US, falls in love with another academic like herself, handsome and charming and low-key Nick Young.
They live together in New York, and life is good. Until Nick invites her to join him in his home, Singapore, for his best friend’s wedding, where he is best man.
I don’t think I’m spoiling the plot for you when I say that when she visits Singapore, Rachel is confronted with wealth and opulence on a scale she has never imagined (let’s face it, it’s all on a scale that not many of us have imagined). Nick’s world, the world into which he was born, is that of the uber-rich and as a wealthy single man, he is considered way too valuable a catch to fall into the hands of this unknown, clearly not very wealthy ABC (American Born Chinese).
Plotting and scheming ensue, on a scale that would make old Machiavelli himself blush.
Nick is blisffully in love, and blissfully unaware of how much of a catch he is considered to be, and totally unaware of the lengths to which his family will go to put a spanner in the works.
The wedding that is the anchor-point of the novel is so grand and so opulent that you literally can’t stop turning the pages, to see just what excessive display of wealth will come next.
Quick aside: I live in India, where eye-wateringly expensive weddings take place. Fortunes are spent on impressing everyone how wealthy you are, so the excesses of the Colin & Araminta wedding didn’t strike me as being in the realm of fiction. I could even imagine some Indian mothers of the bride reading this novel and thinking “Ah, now I could do that for my daughter’s wedding…”
But I digress.
This is a jolly, happy read – though I did shed a tear at one point, I must confess. The opulence and wealth and sheer bonkers-ness of the excesses of the idle rich are vicariously fun to read. I mean, who doesn’t dream of climate controlled wardrobes, with different temperatures for the shoes and the furs? And a camera in the mirror that takes a photo of you, and records what you’re wearing, thus ensuring you never repeat an outfit?
The city state of Singapore is depicted with great affection by Mr. Kwan, and the descriptions of the gardens of Nick’s ancestral home are lyrical and beautiful.
This is a fun read, showcasing the struggle for true love, and good vs evil. And lots of fabulous frocks.
Enjoy this “wickedly delectable” novel.
And don’t even feel guilty about so doing for a moment.
Order the book now.
You know you want to!