Ever wanted to read a book that will make you laugh, sympathize, cry and even cheer at some point while all along giving you a scoop into the life of the Chinese super-rich; a new class of individuals and families who are keeping five-star hotels, restaurants, and luxury shops around the world alive? Well, that is what Kevin Kwan’s debut novel will make you see. An inside scoop on one of the most interesting and crazy stories of Super Rich Asians that you will ever get to read.
The novel is set in Singapore, the birthplace of the author as well as that of his main character, Nick Young. For two years, He has been dating a professor of economics at New York University called Rachel Chu while living in Greenwich Village. Rachel Chu actually comes from a wealthy Taipei family, but she has no clue what wealth really is.
That is until he invites her to come with him to his home in Singapore since he is going to be the best man at his friend’s wedding. This sets the stage for one of the most hilarious rollercoaster rides for Rachel. She soon discovers that the life they had in New York in no way compares to what she is about to witness in Singapore.
The intricacies of this family are seen in almost every scene. The vivid description of Kevin Kwan highlights almost all issues that typically happen in crazy rich Asian families. For starters, Collin Cho, Nick’s best friend, is being married to the daughter of a rich Chinese businessman and it has all been planned to the finest details. He tells Nick “You know this merger has been choreographed down to the most minute detail, it’s good for business and anything that’s good for business is good for the family… I have not been in the position to make a single choice since I was born, and you know that.” This highlights the orchestration of this union in an attempt to ‘preserve the wealth’.
Then there is Eleanor, Nick’s mother, who has the exact idea of the kind of woman Nick should marry. And she makes sure Rachel knows that she does not approve of her. Rachel comes to sadly find out that the sweet and humble man she knew from New York is being headhunted by an army of socialites who want him all to themselves. So, as she came to find out, not only does she face rejection from Eleanor, but she also must battle the numerous women circling her man like vultures circling a carcass.
Kwan is very descriptive when it comes to the lifestyle of the super-rich. He describes in rich details their extravagant houses, their enormous wardrobes, their love for good and expensive food, and the desires of the older generation to retain their wealth within the family.
As the intricacies unfold, we are drawn into a world of wealth, secrets, betrayals, and high standards. While we are drawn into this world, we are also cognizant of the fact that there are gentle souls that wish well and do not regard money as the heartbeat of everything. All the characters in this novel are so carefully intertwined to reveal a great web of family drama almost incomparable to any other novel.
This is one of the best love stories ever written and it takes a couple of themes to intertwine them properly. Just the magnitude of the accuracy and details in this book has made it to be developed into a major motion picture with both critical and box office success. This is a good book to read.