Kevin Kwan was born and raised in Singapore. He currently lives in Manhattan. Crazy Rich Asians is his first novel.
Visit Kevin Kwan at www.kevinkwanbooks.com.
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Excerpt from book:
As Peik Lin’s car approached the porte cochere of Tyersall Park, Nicholas Young bounded down the front steps. “I was worried you’d gotten lost,” he said, opening the car door.
“We did get a bit lost, actually,” Rachel replied.
“For some strange reason, your grandmother’s house didn’t show up on my GPS,” said Peik Lin, who prided herself on knowing every street in Singapore.
Rachel got out of the car and stared up at the majestic facade before her. “Am I really late?”
“No, it’s OK,” Nick said. “Peik Lin—thanks so much for giving Rachel a lift.”
“Of course,” Peik Lin murmured, rather stunned by her surroundings. She paused, thinking Nick might invite her in for a drink, but no invitation seemed forthcoming. Finally she said as nonchalantly as possible, “This is quite a place—is it your grandmother’s?”
“Yes,” Nick replied.
“Has she lived here a long time?” Peik Lin asked, craning to get a better look.
“Since she was a young girl.”
What Peik Lin really wanted to ask was, Who on earth is your grandmother? “Well, you two have a great time,” she said instead, winking at Rachel and mouthing Call me later. Rachel gave her friend a quick smile.
Nick turned to Rachel, looking a little sheepish. “I hope it’s OK . . . but it’s not just the family. My grandmother decided to have a small party at the last minute because her tan hua flowers are going to bloom tonight.”
“She’s throwing a party because some flowers are in bloom?” Rachel asked.
“Well, these are very rare. They bloom only about once every decade, and only at night. The whole thing lasts just a few hours. It’s quite something.”
“Sounds cool, but now I’m feeling really underdressed,” Rachel said, eyeing the fleet of limousines lining the driveway. She was wearing a sleeveless, chocolate-colored linen dress, a pair of low-heeled sandals, and the only expensive piece of jewelry she owned—Mikimoto pearl studs that her mother had given her when she got her doctorate.
“Not at all—you look absolutely perfect,” Nick replied.
As they entered the house, Rachel was transfixed for a few moments by the intricate black, blue, and coral mosaic tile pattern on the floor of what appeared to be a large foyer. Then, to her amazement, a tall, spindly Indian man standing next to a table clustered with pots of enormous white-and-purple phalaenopsis orchids bowed ceremoniously to her.
“Everyone’s upstairs in the l"A dizzily shopaholic comedy of crass manners . . . Crazy Rich Asians offers refreshing nouveau voyeurism to readers who long ago burned out on American and English aspirational fantasies. Mr. Kwan either knows, or does a good job of pretending to know, how the very rich of Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai show off their lucre . . . Hilarious . . . This book name-drops about many different Asian cultures and mixes rude slang from Malay and the Cantonese and Hokkien dialects of Chinese . . . Mr. Kwan makes the most of them . . . A grand tour of a humorously grandiose and showoffy world. Mr. Kwan knows how to deliver guilty pleasures. He keeps the repartee nicely outrageous, the excess wretched and the details wickedly delectable."
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Kwan’s rollicking, often-riotous debut novel, Crazy Rich Asians, reads like a behind-the-scenes primer of the rising über-elite of the ever-powerful Asian world . . . . the reader is given an intimate window into the spending and investing patterns, and burgeoning and crumbling relationships of this upper echelon of extraordinary wealth . . . an entertaining, engrossing novel . . . a lively, generous story of shallow extravagance and human devotion.”
—S. Kirk Walsh, The Boston Globe
“Crazy Rich Asians has all the plot and color of a tabloid mag, set in Asia. This means that front doors are cathedral sized, millions are now billions and shopping is, as one character puts it, ‘Fifth Avenue on steroids’ . . . Put on your designer shades, stuff an umbrella into your drink, and lose yourself in the antics of people who cheat on their husbands with secret overseas shopping trips. By the time you've finished you should have a rich, golden tan.”
—Emma Keller, The Guardian (UK)
“A debut novel that sheds light on the gilded world of Asian wealth and shopping culture that most Westerners only catch glimpses of.”
—Sarah Hampson, The Globe and Mail (Canada)
“Deliciously decadent . . . Rachel, an American-born Chinese (ABC), has no idea what to expect when she visits Singapore to meet her boyfriend Nick’s multibillionaire family. There, she discovers mind-blowing opulence--next season’s couture, palatial properties, million-dollar shopping sprees--and the over-the-top bad behavior that comes with it . . . This 48-karat beach read is crazy fun.”
—Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly
“There’s rich, there’s filthy rich, and then there’s crazy rich . . . A Pride and Prejudice-like send-up about an heir bringing his Chinese-American girlfriend home to meet his ancestor-obsessed family, the book hilariously skewers imperial splendor and the conniving antics of the Asians jet set.”
“When Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians has a mother in Singapore telling her girls to finish everything on their plates because ‘there are children starving in America,’ it’s O.K. to get the joke. There’s no need to dwell on what it really means. Crazy Rich Asians is this summer’s ‘Bergdorf Blondes,’ over-the-top funny and a novelty to boot. Mr. Kwan delivers nonstop hoots about a whole new breed of rich, vulgar, brand-name-dropping conspicuous consumers, with its own delicacies, curses, vices, stereotypes (‘I hope she’s not one of those Taiwanese tornadoes!’) and acronyms. According to Mr. Kwan, this crowd uses U.B.C., as the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, is known, to mean ‘University of a Billion Chinese.’ How rich and vulgar are the Anglophile Asians of this debut novel? Rich enough to throw a diamond of more than 30 carats into a snowdrift and not look for it. So vulgar