Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan

About the same time as I picked up Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians, I saw this in my twitter feed from the Dalai Lama:
and it hit me like a ton of bricks, but Kwan's beau monde comedy of manners (and snobbery) is such a searing illustration. These characters live in the height of luxury at the top of society (not just rich, but 'crazy rich') and yet most of them are miserable, either through envy or a fear of falling behind or more personal, private heartaches.

I expected the book to be more...gossipy? Catty tell-all? More of a beach read at any rate. But the suffering is so human that I couldn't get into the comedy. Perhaps a different reader. Or maybe Kwan wants us to feel it less as a comedy. It reminded me, for some reason, of Proust (A LOT more readable, though), in its 'slice of life at the top,' and the subtle repulsion with what he witnesses around him. Utterly fascinating. I particularly like the way Kwan changes up his narrative style: mostly in third-person omniscient, but including other narrative devices such as IM exchanges, newspaper notices, magazine articles, etc.

It took me a little bit to get into--Kwan provides family trees at the beginning, but there are ton of characters, and it took me a while to warm up to them, but I was hooked by the end and went straight into the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, which I enjoyed immensely. Looking forward to the third book in the series, Rich People Problems.