Kevin Kwan

Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians

Take a network of ultra-wealthy Asian families addicted to gossip, social oneupmanism, and conspicuous excess. Throw in the ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend of a highly eligible only son, plunk them all down in Singapore, and watch the furs fly. In his wildly successful debut novel, Kevin Kwan dishes up nonstop snark you can cut with a knife and eat for dessert.

Clan matriarch Eleanor Young “could meet another Asian anywhere in the world . . . and within thirty seconds of learning their name and where they lived, she would implement her social algorithm and calculate precisely where they stood in her constellation based on who their family was, who else they were related to, what their approximate net worth might be, how the fortune was derived, and what family scandals might have occurred within the past fifty years.”

You may consider your own relatives snobbish, judgmental, and scheming, but it’s a cinch they’ll pale in comparison with the Young-T’sien-Chang archipelago. A cousin whose intelligence-gathering operations would put the KGB to shame is nicknamed Radio One Asia. An aunt with unnaturally taut skin from a face-lift is known to the younger generation as Auntie Wind Tunnel.

Kwan’s assessment of all things American is no less wicked. You don’t have to get beyond the prologue to know that Singaporean Chinese typically refer to Westerners as ang mor gau sai (red-haired dog shit). Stanford? It’s “that school in California for those people who can’t get into Harvard.” And in a mock literary reference, a character emerging from seclusion is dubbed Jane Ear.

Make this book your next beach read. Just be sure to slather on plenty of sunscreen first, because once you start reading you won’t want to stop.

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