Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Published 2013.
I found your last beach read of the season.
Kwan’s debut novel drips with wit and cattiness. The key figure – Rachel – is American on the inside, Chinese on the outside and ridiculously naïve. Both Rachel and her Asian boyfriend are college professors in NYC. She accompanies him to China for several weeks of vacation and looks forward to meeting family and old friends. But it turns out to be far from a vacation and instead is her discovery of the myriad nuances of intra-Asian culture that Kwan goes to great depths to share. And in doing so, you’ll also learn the difference between being rich, filthy rich and crazy rich.
Manners and culture of Shanghai, Malaysia, Singapore and mainland China are all interesting. The food descriptions are wonderful and if you’re a fashionista, then even better. It’s all tongue-in-cheek and just absurdly funny. It won’t be nominated for a Pulitzer but it will entertain you on a lazy beach vaca or a long flight. Be sure to read the asterisked words and phrases for they are a wealth of Asian knowledge and it makes richer reading. Kwan is from Singapore and includes personal tidbits from his schooling and childhood.
A movie was just released based on this book. I’d like to see it.
In the Cool Mona rating system, I award Crazy Rich Asians four margaritas.