A 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 American-born Chinese girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
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 ... Mr. Kwan neither has nor wants a light touch ... Mr. Kwan knows how to deliver guilty pleasures. He keeps the repartee nicely outrageous, the excess wretched and the details wickedly delectable.
This world of absurdly over-the-top wealth is the playground of the characters in Kevin Kwan's breathless, high-speed romp through the lives of a group of megarich Asians ... The cast of gloriously overblown characters is never-ending in its capacity to pile excess upon excess ... It's precisely this gleefully camp humor that saves the novel from being a roll call of predictable characters who flirt outrageously with Mills & Boon cliche ... The expository nature of the novel is no more evident than in the copious footnotes, whose chirpy humor can't disguise their earnestness in explaining Malay honorific titles or Hokkien swear words.
...[a] rollicking, often-riotous debut novel ... As a way of educating the reader, Kwan provides myriad footnotes, which offer translations of Cantonese, Hokkien, and Mandarin words, as well as further explanations of the high-end culture and society. The author’s wit adroitly penetrates the fine print ... One of the few drawbacks of the narrative is the deliberate litany of name-dropping and designer brands, which grows a little wearisome. That said, with each chapter, Kwan skillfully moves the narrative forward with escalating tension ... Crazy Rich Asians is an entertaining, engrossing novel. Kwan certainly knows how to tell a lively, generous story of shallow extravagance and human devotion.