Sunday, 19 November 2017

Books Recommendations: My Latest Discovery - Crazy Rich Asians Series

As the long days of summer have now turned into long wintry dark evenings, I now long for a quiet night in, curling on the sofa with a good paperback and a cup of tea - peppermint is my current favourite. Not only it is very good for my digestion, but also very calming and soothing for my throat, especially after a meal of comfort food at dinner.

Although I lived in South East Asia before living in London, Kevin Kwan is not a name that I am familiar with. I stumbled upon his books at a bookstore in KLCC while I was in Malaysia in May this year.

It turns out, Kevin Kwan is a Singapore based author and had authored three books to-date, the Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problem, which is his latest released earlier this summer. Both his first and second books became international bestsellers and his debut book, Crazy Rich Asians is being adapted into a film which is currently in production with the expected release date around summer 2018.

If you are looking for new reading materials, wanting to discover a new author and storyline which is not centred around the Western countries, I highly recommend that you pick up this trilogy in one go because once you read the first one, you will want to start the second and the third book as soon as you finish the previous book instantaneously. They are THAT amazing.

All the three books are inspired by Kevin Kwan's childhood in Singapore and revolved around the lifestyle of multigenerational Asian dynasties and wealthy Asian elites. A bit like the Eastern version of the Dynasty or Dallas TV series.

Crazy Rich Asians' storyline kicked off by introducing the two main characters Nick and his girlfriend, Rachel, who both reside in NYC. Nick was about to bring Rachel to Singapore for the first time, to attend his best friend's wedding and to introduce her to his parents. Rachel didn't know about Nick's actual family background and history. He comes from one of the wealthiest families in Asia. They very quickly became the talk of the town because, firstly, Nick is clearly one of the most eligible bachelors. But more importantly, in the Asian culture, it's a pretty a big thing when a guy brings a girl home to meet the family, even more so, in this particular case given they had to travel half the world and across continents. Conflicts soon ensued mainly around Nick's mother and grandmother whose preferences are for Nick to marry someone ideally from a close-knit with approximately the same level of wealth circles. The storyline is very gripping right from the first few pages. I started the book around 6pm in the evening and finished it before I went to bed on the same night. It was that good and hard to put down.

Kevin Kwan cleverly painted an accurate picture of the conflicts between parents and child, traditional vs. progressive views of the world, the clash between old vs. new money as well as the social status of Asians from Singapore or Hong Kong compared to the Mainlanders.

I am currently halfway through the second book, China Rich Girlfriend. The storyline is similar but this time it focused on Rachel's discovering more about her background and her parents. Having raised single-handedly by her mother who migrated from China to the USA, in this installation, Rachel finds out about who her father is and how in the process, she was drawn into the dizzying world of Shanghai splendour.

It looks like the focus turns back onto Nick in the third book, Rich People Problems as his family fights over his grandmother's heirlooms which include a trophy estate on sixty-four prime acres in the heart of Singapore as she lays on her deathbed. It will be very interesting to see how the storyline develops and unfolds, and if there is a potential for a next sequel. Now if you would excuse me, I have 1.5 books waiting for me to read.

Thanks for dropping by and may you have a great week ahead and Happy Thanksgiving for those who are celebrating!


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