#MWFDIGITAL: Kevin Kwan – Sex and Vanity

Kevin Kwan is the author of the international bestsellers Crazy Rich Asians, now a major motion picture, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems. Born in Singapore, he has called New York’s West Village home since 1995.

Sex and Vanity

The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with the glittering tale of a young woman who finds herself torn between two men.

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa.

The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, she finds herself drawn to him again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé and ultimately herself, as she tries to deny George entry into her world – and her heart.

Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

Pub date: 2 July 2020
Penguin Random House Australia

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this session. Kevin is such a funny, expressive guy, and yet, in a surprising twist, he admitted partway through the interview that this was merely a role he assumed for public functions. In truth, Kevin Kwan the author is a very different man to Kevin Kwan the regular person. He says that it takes a lot of effort to come across as an extrovert in public, but that it’s all in the name of entertainment, which is the business he moves in nowadays.

He initially began writing fiction as a personal hobby, a means of escape from his daily life, and he had no publishing aspirations at all. Fast forward to now, all four of his novels have film rights sold. With Sex and Vanity, Kevin is hoping to repeat the Crazy Rich Asians formula and has signed on as a producer, which will see him retain a lot of creative control – as he did with Crazy Rich Asians.

Sex and Vanity is like a clean slate for Kevin, a move away from the first trilogy. He’s always loved A Room with a View, it’s his favourite book, and he feels as though Sex and Vanity has been percolating away, drawing inspiration from all over, for the last decade. Amongst the novel’s key themes is the exploration of the complications of being caught between two cultures when you are Eurasian. It’s also a love letter to pasta apparently – I feel this is a big drawcard for me!

Sex and Vanity is the first book in a new trilogy, but Kevin warns this is not a conventional trilogy. Rather than focusing on taking the characters forward through the books, the link is through cities, hence the name, Cities Trilogy. Sex and Vanity is set in New York, from there, onwards to London, and then Paris, the trilogy therefore a tribute to Kevin’s favourite three cities. For Crazy Rich Asian fans, Kevin hints that there are a lot of “Easter Eggs” buried in Sex and Vanity. You just need to find them. I honestly can’t wait to read it!


9 thoughts on “#MWFDIGITAL: Kevin Kwan – Sex and Vanity

  1. Pingback: 2020 Melbourne Writers Festival Saturday 8/8/20 | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

      • At the beginning of the year, I had this 20 things I wanted to do in 2020 list (hahahahaha thanks covid, I’ve pretty much done NONE of them) and one of them was watch 20 movies, because I almost never watch movies. I thought I’d definitely choose Crazy Rich Asians as one of my movies to watch, however I don’t want to read it until I’ve read the book. I’m a bit of a stickler there. I’ve had the movie Lion on my Foxtel box for THREE YEARS because I don’t want to watch it until I’ve read the book….and yeah, I still haven’t read the book.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Crazy Rich Asians might just be my favourite movie! Although my sister says the book is better, I watched before I read.
        I’m like you, I don’t watch movies all that much, even though I love them.


  2. This sounds like a great session. I love that the book is “a love letter to pasta apparently”. I thought that meant it was going to be set in Italy! But apparently not.

    Anyhow, I did think Crazy Rich Asians was a fun romcom with some great performances. Predictable, like romcoms are, but so great to see diverse settings for the traditional framework!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve followed Kevin on instagram now because he says he never writes anything unless he’s immersed himself in the experience. So with characters eating meals, the meals are all ones he’s tried and in the places where the characters are eating. But he loves pasta, so that’s where the pasta comes in. And he said he posts pictures of all these meals on instagram.

      Liked by 1 person

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