Given the present ubiquity of reviews and commentary on “Crazy Rich Asians”, it’s worth remembering that the hit film was once a (hit) book, and the first of a trilogy. Here are our reviews, plus a review of a book by an entirely different author that preceded Crazy Rich Asians and presciently hinted at what was to come.
A book with a title as brash as Crazy Rich Asians is just asking to be picked up and read. The ascent of Asian money is all too real, yet at the same time, one can’t help but ask where such money came from – and who these people are. And thanks to Kevin Kwan’s debut novel, we can enter into this world of intrigue.
The blurb describes China Rich Girlfriend as an uproarious comedy of manners, but it’s more a comedy of consumerism, as is perhaps hinted in the title itself, since it uses China as a superlative — not just rich, but China rich.
Rich People Problems is well and briskly written. But Kwan never misses a chance to mention a high-end brand you’ll only have heard of if you’re in with the in crowd, or to describe an outfit by some designer far too exclusive for the mere mass luxury market, so it sometimes feels as if you’re trapped between the pages of a glossy lifestyle magazine, and not reading a novel.
There was a book that preceded these: the 2012 Our Man in China by Ming Liu.