Rich People Problems

Kevin Kwan. Doubleday, $26.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-385-54223-4
The winning third novel (after 2015’s China Rich Girlfriend) in Kwan’s trilogy about elite Asian families focuses on the impending death of matriarch Shang Su Yi and the fate of the family estate, Tyersall Park in Singapore, amid plenty of gossip, scheming, and cattiness among the book’s status-conscious players. Nick Young is living in New York, estranged from Su Yi—the beloved grandmother who raised him—since she deemed his then-girlfriend, Rachel Chu, unfit for him. Nick’s cousin Astrid Leong, though also favored by Su Yi, is on the outs with her family after Isabel—the unstable ex-wife of Astrid’s beau, Charlie Young—causes a public spectacle that soils the Leong name. When it becomes clear that Su Yi is near death, status-climbing Eddie Cheng, Nick’s cousin, plots to keep Astrid and Nick from her deathbed while hoping to claim Tyersall Park for himself. Kwan’s writing is lively and witty, and he has a gift for peppering his narrative with telling detail. His complicated plot never flags, even in the less-intriguing scenes that showcase Astrid’s gooey illicit romance. The author is at his best when he’s unveiling this rarefied world and pitting the stature-obsessed with their more humble counterparts; this comes to a satisfying crescendo as the fate of Tyersall Park is decided. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2017
Release date: 05/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-0-385-68938-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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