on the money

Kevin Kwan talks Rich Peo­ple Prob­lems, the third novel in his Crazy Rich Asians se­ries and our Book of the Month

ELLE (Australia) - - Contents -

Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians tril­ogy gets its fi­nal in­stal­ment – and it’s a must-read.


I al­ready knew the THE FIRST BOOK, whole story I wanted to tell. It was al­ways my in­ten­tion for things to ramp up to an even cra­zier, richer level from book to book and to travel through dif­fer­ent parts of Asia. So the “con­ceiv­ing” part re­ally was a 15-year ges­ta­tion pe­riod... be­tween the time I grad­u­ated from uni­ver­sity to the point when I be­gan writ­ing the first book.

I was a cre­ative BE­FORE I STARTED WRIT­ING MY NOV­ELS, con­sul­tant spe­cial­is­ing in the de­sign and lux­ury in­dus­try. From a very early age, I’ve been lucky enough to wit­ness some amaz­ing shop­ping sprees and be sur­rounded by peo­ple with im­pec­ca­ble style. So the book’s de­sign de­tails come nat­u­rally. For me, an es­sen­tial part of the sto­ry­telling is to cap­ture fully the en­vi­ron­ments my char­ac­ters in­habit. If Rachel, the hero­ine, en­ters the draw­ing room of some spec­tac­u­lar man­sion, I want read­ers to ex­pe­ri­ence what she’s

ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. What does this space look like? What is the art on the walls? What are other peo­ple wear­ing? What are they eat­ing? THE STORIES ARE A MIX OF MEM­O­RIES

that are far closer AND EX­PE­RI­ENCES to real life than most peo­ple can imag­ine. In Asia, read­ers tend to con­sider my books al­most as if they are non-fic­tion, be­cause they see so much of the out­ra­geous­ness that oc­curs in that world ev­ery day. Read­ers in other parts of the world are the ones who say, “This can­not be real.” I do es­ca­late a few de­tails here and there, mainly for comic ef­fect, but the truth is I of­ten have to tone down the stories and de­tails to make them more be­liev­able. Noth­ing in my books is fake – yes, there re­ally are pri­vate jets out­fit­ted with mas­sage rooms on board. Yes, there re­ally is a doc­tor in Sin­ga­pore who spe­cialises in facelifts for pet fish. In Asia, truth is al­ways stranger than fic­tion.

Rich Peo­ple Prob­lems ($29.99, Dou­ble­day) is out now

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