Kevin Kwan's delightful first novel about the rich Chinese in Singapore is what I think they call a romp. I don't used the word "read" as a noun, but if I did, this is the book I'd call "a fun read." It's filled with over-the-top women who think nothing of flying from Singapore to a resort in Indonesia for the weekend and men who fly to Hong Kong for dinner. That's how rich they are. Really rich. Crazy rich. For them $40 million on a wedding is about average.
You've heard of JAPs - Jewish American Princesses. This is a book about an ABC, an American Born Chinese girl, Rachel, who teaches economics at NYU and dates a fellow professor, Nicholas. He is from Singapore and he invites her to go there with him for his best friend's wedding and to meet his parents.
The story is peopled with his family, who are distraught because he appears to be about to propose to this girl who is in no way acceptable to the Singapore Chinese for whom Taiwanese Chinese are way too declasse to marry into their patrician bloodline. Then there are the young women who hope to marry Nicholas, vicious backbiters and not above the occasional not-funny practical joke at Rachel's expense.
There are a hundred smile-inducing lines in this novel, too many to quote, but my favorite is, I think, a discussion of how boring somebody's parties are: "Last time we had to sit through an entire piano recital by that Ling Ling guy." Or this indication of the restraint as exhibited by these women: "Her daughter had grown up as one of these people - people of breeding and taste. There wasn't a single diamond over fifteen carats in this crowd." But to Rachel they "made Upper East Side girls look like Mennonites."
You get the picture. Fun, fun, fun.