Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1)by Kevin Kwan Published 11 Jun 2013
|Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1).pdf|
Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.
"Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1)" Reviews
"Imagine wanting to marry a girl from such a family! So disgraceful! Really, Nicky, what would Gong Gong say if he was alive? Madri, this tea needs a little more sugar."
This is some seriously trashy crack-lit. And no that's not a typo-- this book is as addictive and dramatic and ridiculous as you surely imagine it to be. I should probably hate it, but, well... oops.
You've definitely got to be in the mood for it or you'll wonder why you're actively murdering your brain cells. And I guess I was definitely in the mood for it. Crazy Rich Asians follows the drama and scandals of some of East Asia's wealthiest families. Think filthy stinking rich: mansions, private planes, $25,000 dresses (I didn't even know such a thing existed), etc.
It's opulent, it's melodramatic, and it's completely nuts. This bunch of wealthy families all come together in Singapore for an extravagant fairy tale wedding. But the wedding is the very least of the drama. Nicholas "Nicky" Young, who has been living in New York, is about to bring his American-born girlfriend, Rachel Chu, to meet his parents for the first time, and his mother is almost certainly going to dig up some nastiness when she runs a background check on Rachel's family. Also, Rachel has no clue how rich Nicky is-- hell, is she in for a shock!
Then there's the beautiful Astrid, whose husband is probably having an affair, and she is about to go investigating to find out. Plus there's a bunch of other subplots about what these ridiculously rich people get up to. It is like the Asian version of all those terrible eighties soap operas like Dallas and Dynasty, and I say "terrible" but I totally used to watch reruns of those with my mum, too.
I don't know why I liked it; I just did. Maybe it's because I'm nosy and enjoy the drama of other people's lives. Maybe it's because these superficial rich people problems are an enjoyable break from the real world. Maybe it's because it does exactly what it says on the label. Maybe I just have terrible taste. Well, like I said... oops.
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I am Asian, I lived in Singapore, and I am not crazy rich - but I certainly heard of enough people on that tiny island who are. Ten years ago, I remember being addicted to a blog (now defunct) called "pinkshoefetish" where one Daphne Teo of Singapore documented every single materialistic extravaganza in her life - endless Tod's bags, Chanel, the luxurious apartment she (or her parents) rented when she was at Purdue (no stinky student dorms for her), her endless jet-setting to the most expensive hotels and restaurants in New York, London, Paris, etc. At that time, I wasn't even sure I could afford to go to college, so Daphne's blog was pure escapism (if not a source of resentment). I don't remember what her parents did to afford that lifestyle, but anyway, my point is - the crazy rich Asians of East and Southeast Asia do exist, and man do they live large. When I saw that a Singaporean had written a novel about them, and that it was in the hands of a major NYC publishing house, I couldn't wait to read it, to see what had caught the attention of these editors, so much that they were willing to take on a book about Asians, set in Singapore.
I got an ARC of the book from eBay and devoured it in two days. And, perhaps I am biased because of who I am and my (slight) exposure to that world, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. It satirizes the crazy rich Asian universe, but even with the exaggerations, my college friend, who is part of the Hong Kong version of the Wealthy Asian Club, would recognize so many aspects depicted in the novel - the lightning speed at which gossip travels, the focus on bloodlines and marriage, the clash between old money and new, and - most important I think - the tension between mainland Chinese and overseas Chinese, a phenomenon that is very real, very common, very much discussed in Asia, but pretty much unheard of in the West. When Singaporean Chinese "blue blood" Nick takes his American Chinese girlfriend Rachel home, his family is concerned that, yes, she might be a gold-digger, but their suspicions are heightened by the fact that she was - to their horror - born in mainland China, to a single mother (more strikes against her!). I laughed when I read that, because I was brought up in Asia where those prejudices are part and parcel of everyday life, but an American reader might find it offensive and racist - which it is, but in a "Chinese" sort of way that is not so much about hatred. The book shows how those prejudices are challenged as mainland Chinese grow richer and more influential, and the author sympathetically portrays both sides.
As for the actual storyline - it's a roller coaster ride that might be hard to keep up with at the beginning because of how many characters are introduced (and I always had my finger on the family tree Kwan provides in the book). I found it ridiculous that Nick and Rachel could have dated for years without her finding out about his background, but this is chick lit and so I willingly suspended disbelief and just let myself get carried along into the world of chili crab and nasi lemak. Kwan's writing is clear and breezy and skips along very well, and in the end I was left feeling like Rachel must have when she was plunked into this whirlwind world - amazed, dizzyfied, enlightened.
And it makes me want to go back to Singapore.
A great summer read!
(Oh - the gold and pink hardcover release is cute, but I love how the galley cover plays with the Hermès box design. Clever!)
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is a 2013 publication.
I guess I missed all the hoopla when this book was first released. It wasn’t until the third book started getting a little buzz that I became interested in reading this series.
So, I went in search of this first book- ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, and had no trouble finding a copy at the library- but- there was an abnormally long wait period for a book that is four years old! So, this series must be pretty popular!!
But, I have lots of books I needed to read, so I didn’t mind waiting, and it helped that once I did get a copy I found myself totally immersed in the saga of these fantastically wealthy Asians, their romantic ups and downs, and their family dramas.
Rachel Chu has NO idea what she’s getting herself into when she agrees to attend the wedding of her boyfriend, Nicholas Young’s cousin, Colin, to Araminta Lee. Nick neglects to prepare Rachel for his outrageously rich, and ostentatious family, ignoring dire warnings from some of his family members, to give her a heads up. Nick will soon come to regret throwing Rachel into the mix headlong.
Astrid, Nick’s cousin, is an icon of the social pages, who is in a seemingly sweet and successful marriage, but apparently, not all that glitters is gold.
This book is a like a light -hearted soap opera and I see how this series could become a guilty pleasure. The cast seems enormous, but there is a sharper focus on Nick and Astrid and their relationship woes.
Still, the supporting cast is worth noting- Eddie is Nick’s cousin, who, despite his parents’ lineage and prestige is forced to live beneath the standards of his extended family, which causes him much embarrassment.
Eleanor is Nick’s controlling mother, who plots and schemes to keep him from proposing to Rachel.
Rachel’s mother, Kerry, gives calm, practical advice, and encouragement, in contrast to Eleanor, but is harboring a volatile secret that could ruin Rachel’s chance at happiness with Nick.
There are other supporting players, each with a unique role in the story, all adding a bit more depth to the story.
Normally, I struggle with novels featuring a large cast. I get confused easily and lose track of how the characters are connected and often have a hard time understanding what each one has to contribute to the story.
But, in this instance, ‘the more the merrier’ works perfectly. The author skips back and forth among the characters, giving each of them a moment in the spotlight, but mainly the focus is on the possibly doomed romance between Rachel and Nick and the breakdown of Astrid’s marriage due to class differences and the strain of pretending to be someone you aren’t.
This book is pure chick-lit, but with such vivid, hilarious, and outrageously over the top characters, it was never too heavy on the drama.
The author did a terrific job of showing the differences in generations- the old customs and versus the more relaxed exposure to western customs- the class divisions- the effect wealth has on those who are born into it as opposed to those who worked to achieve it.
The language is authentic, which required some footnotes the author graciously provided. I enjoyed learning about this culture in such a fun and easy way, although it does slow down the momentum, just a little bit.
Overall, this novel turned out to be more than I had anticipated, and I’m glad I discovered this series. I’m looking forward to the next installment and can not wait to see what these crazy rich Asians will get up to next!!
I think another Goodreads reviewer said it best: "Shallow characters don't mean shallowly written characters."
And in the case of this book, the author didn't pick up on that memo. Shallow characters can be delightfully, wickedly compelling when they're written well. I mean, look at Anthony and Gloria in Fitzgerald's "The Beautiful and Damned", or Becky Sharp in "Vanity Fair" or heck, even Blair Waldorf in the "Gossip Girl" series if you're looking at more "chick-lit" examples. But the characters in "Crazy Rich Asians" are so two-dimensional and flat you just can't care about them.
Also, a pet peeve of mine is when a writer TELLS me something rather than SHOWS me something. This entire book is all tell, no show. Except to show off the author's knowledge of designer labels. Slow clap.
Yes, this is a rather scathing review but I really don't understand all the hype surrounding this book, and I was hoping for more, well, substance (yes, from a glittery gold and hot pinkbook called Crazy Rich Asians, I know. But I think the setting and characters had some originality, timely relevance and promise and the author didn't deliver). Definitely disappointed.
This book is deliciously entertaining.
Rachel is a professor of economics in NY who has been dating her boyfriend Nick for two years. One day Nick invites her to go with him to Singapore to attend his cousin's wedding and she agrees.
As soon as Rachel and Nick arrive at Singapore and meet his family, she realizes that Nick's family is filthy rich. Not just wealthy but $200,000-a-dress wealthy and this is a fact that he's failed to disclose to her.
Rachel soon finds herself dealing with nosy relatives, sumptuous meals, scheming social climbers, private jets, and drama, tons of drama. The novel is narrated from different points of view and is set mostly in Asia. My favorite character is Oliver because he is witty and a shameless schemer.
The novel is funny, interesting and addictive. Overall I enjoyed it and plan to read the sequels.
FINAL NOTE: a movie adaptation is in the works and encompasses an all-Asian cast. I am excited to see the movie and was happy to learn that Michelle Yeoh will be playing one of the main characters Eleanor Sung-Young. I first saw her on the amazing movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and have been a fan ever since.