Crazy Rich Asians: Why We Are All Obsessed

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2 min read

Romantic comedies in which the characters strut around in high fashion and live with crazy opulence has traditionally been dominated by New York high society. From The Devil Wears Prada to Sex and the City to Gossip Girl, stories of the one percent are usually overwhelmingly white, American and bi-coastal. 

Contrast this to the dominant Asian narrative in the West, which has mostly been limited to the Asian immigrant experience.

Enter Crazy Rich Asians, the first book in a trilogy of novels by Kevin Kwan. This is as frothy, gossipy and blindingly bling as you can get. Only this time, the razzle-dazzle belongs to a group of obscenely rich Asians and it is set in Singapore.

Crazy Rich Asians, which has recently been turned into a major motion picture, doesn’t exactly worry too much about presenting an entirely factual side of Singapore society, but it does reveal a certain slice of contemporary Asian culture, albeit somewhat exaggerated.Crazy Rich Asians Kevin KwanCrazy Rich Asians – The Plot

Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Nick Young and Rachel Wu. Nick is the unassuming heir apparent to Singapore’s largest real estate dynasty. He has delayed entering into the family business and instead is working as a history professor at New York University. Nick is dating the accomplished and intelligent Rachel. A professor of Economics at NYU, she has been brought up in the US by a Chinese immigrant, single mother. Rachel has no idea just how wealthy Nick is, but she is about to find out.

An unsuspecting Rachel accompanies Nick home to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding and is introduced to his world of sprawling hidden bungalows, jealous ex-girlfriends, nosy relatives and parties on private islands. In the midst of all this there is nepotism, adultery, blackmail, friendship and mouth-watering food.

This film is as frothy, gossipy and blindingly bling as you can get – the characters strut around in high fashion and live with crazy opulence.

There is a vast number of characters, each one more ludicrously wealthy than the next. There is Nick’s stunning cousin Astrid Leong, who styles Parisian couture with thrift shop finds and family heirlooms. Then there are the bible-reading, LV toting aunties, the supermodels, jet-setting businessmen, social climbers, childhood amahs and even some royalty.

Crazy Rich Asians – Why You Need To See It

Read Crazy Rich Asians if you need something light and fun that makes the orderly Singapore sound dramatic. Don’t expect literary quality, factual accuracy, political correctness, or even a basic sense of reality. And if you enjoy the book you can go watch the film. It’s got all the elements of a glittery Hollywood rom-com but with an effortlessly chic and shiny, all-Asian cast.

Have you seen the film and/or read the book? Let us know in the comments below what you liked most about the story line and what you think the secret is to the book’s success.

You might also like Fast Fiction – 5 Short Reads You Will Love.

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