Kevin Kwan’s CRAZY RICH ASIANS is one hell of a delicious romp, and I’m kicking myself for not going on this ride sooner. I simply could not put it down. (Rainy weekend + fuzzy socks!)
The novel opens in London, 1986. Our hero, Nicholas Young is 8 and behaving himself beautifully at the Calthorpe where the general manager is but a few hours away from having to eat his racist ignorance for dinner. (Felicity Leong’s husband buys her the hotel and Ormsby finds himself without a job.) And that is the dear reader’s introduction to this filthy rich extended family.
The novel is centered around Nicholas and Rachel Chu (who is not quite an American Born Chinese, but close enough). They’ve been dating for two years, and Nicholas has invited her to join him at the wedding of his oldest and dearest friend. Nick leaves out a few minor details. Like how it’s the most talked about wedding in Asia. That it’s going to be a media circus. That everyone who is anyone will be there. Oh, and our hero just happens to be from one of the wealthiest families in Singapore and with Colin wed, the most eligible bachelor. The Youngs are Rich with the big “R.” So wealthy no one talks about it. So wealthy that Rachel’s rich friend who lives in Singapore doesn’t even know him. So wealthy that his family will never approve of a modest economics professor from California.
The novel flits in and out of the social circle Rachel has been thrust into. As expected, she’s a fish out of water and seen as nothing more than a gold digger. Nick’s mother hires a private investigator to find out exactly who this woman is while at the same time orchestrating multiple attempts to sabotage her son’s love interest. I cut my teeth on soap operas and Erica Kane has NOTHING on Eleanor Young.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS is delicious and decadent, and if you’re like me and haven’t taken the ride yet, forget Netflix & Chill for a weekend and pick up Kwan’s first novel. (It’s the first of a trilogy. I can’t speak for CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND and RICH PEOPLE PROBLEMS, but this first attempt is a pure joy of book fun.)