China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan - I dived into China Rich Girlfriend, the second book of the Crazy Rich Asians series, the day after finishing the opening book. I cannot see a way not to have spoilers in this post as the plot rolls on two years after the end of the first book. They start coming in the next paragraph.
There is another great opening in London with Eleanor coming to the aid of a fabulously weathy Mainlander, Shaoyen Bao. Her son, Carlton, has been injured in a luxury sports car crash in London. Her nephew, the always pretentious Eddie Cheng, is well suited to being the fixer designated by his bank to hush up the accident and its consequences. Eddie spends millions of dollars in the cover up.
The wealthy Chinese families who left mainland China for Singapore from a few to several generations ago have snobbish negative nicknames for the Chinese who emigrated to other countries. Those who settled in Indonesia are “Chindos”.
And what could be tackier but visually amazing is Kitty Pong, the television soap opera actress and singer, who snared Bernard Tai of the fabulously wealthy Tai family, entering the auction of magnificient ancient paintings on Chinese scrolls:
…. a strikingly attractive Chines woman with jet-black hair, powdered white skin, and crimson lips, dramatically dressed in a black velvet off-the-shoulder gown, emerged from the crowd. Flanked by two snow-white Russian wolfhounds on long diamond leashes, the lady bega to walk slowly up the central aisle ….
Tens of millions even hundreds of millions are spent at the auction.
In another sign of conspicuous consumption even Eleanor is non-plused when, visiting the Bao’s in their new Singapore apartment, her car and herself are taken up to the apartment in a car elevator. The family has a sky garage. It is hard to conceive of a more powerful symbol of excess.
As I hoped the romance of Rachel Chu and Nicky Young was not thwarted by his mother, Eleanor, and grandmother, Shang Su Yi. They re-united back in New York City after forsaking Singapore at the end of Crazy Rich Asians. Their California wedding is such a contrast to the Singapore extragenza that was Colin Khoo and Araminta Lee’s wedding day.
Finding out Gaoliang Bao is Rachel’s real life father produced a touching scene beween Rachel’s mother and Gaoliang.
Back in China Shaoyen has no interest in meeting, letting alone welcoming, Rachel to their family. Shaoyen is Eleanor’s equal in promoting her view of personal family interests.
When Rachel and Nick meet her half-brother, Carlton, they are introduced to a collection of the wealthiest Mainland Chinese. His celebrity girlfriend, Collette Bing, is the daughter of Jack Bing who is the 3rd or 4th richest man in China. Collette, a fashion fiend, has additional boyfriends beyond Carlton.
The Mainlanders proved to be even more profligate spenders than the Singaporean super-rich.
It is hard to top Jack’s private 747 jet with a dining room, IMAX theatre, 3 story living room, 10 bedroom suites and a fully equipped medical clinic with operating table.
Rachel and Nick join Carlton and Collette and friends and family on the 747 as they fly to Paris for an impromptu spending spree that was an exhausting 72 hours of buying. Why shop when you can buy?
I missed the interaction in Singapore between the families. The Mainlanders are so caught up in consuming though the older ladies also collect hotel soaps and cook on a hot plate in their suites at one of the most exclusive hotels in Paris.
Rachel has come to find spending time with the super-rich Asians an amazing sight seeing experience.
I found it interesting that all of them expect serious relationships to end in marriage and to make their best efforts at having successful marriages. Dating is all about the good times but, for most, when a partner is found there is a genuine commitment. (Eddie with a series of mistresses is an exception.)
As the book went on I felt I was coming to know the characters so well I could anticipate their actions.
I am caught up in the whirl of the crazy rich Asians. I going to immediately read the third book. It is time for some plot lines to be resolved.
Kwan has a breezy easy going style to his writing about the super-rich Chinese of Asia. He effortlesly drew me through the first two books in the series. The successes and problems of the characters feel real. Kwan has created a fascinating saga.