A NPR, Marie Claire, and New York Post Best Book of 2020
Good Morning America's July Book Club Pick
A CNN "Perfect Summer Read"
A New York Times "New & Noteworthy Book"
"Kevin Kwan has had a singular influence on Asian American storytelling and Hollywood’s pop cultural landscape."— Yoonj Kim, Los Angeles Times
“With this sparkling confection of a potboiler, Kwan more than delivers on the promises of his title, and he does so with tongue planted firmly in cheek.”
— Elizabeth Egan, New York Times
“Kevin Kwan has dedicated his fourth novel, Sex and Vanity
, to two unique destinations. One is New York... the other is the Italian island of Capri... Both locales—rich, glamorous, and filled with their share of both insiders and outsiders looking for their ticket in—serve as backdrops for Kwan’s latest ode to love, class, and the problematic, hilarious search for happiness in a world spinning with too much of pretty much everything. Kwan… is an urban romantic and he’s also a keen observer of social mores and the Teflon charms of an offbeat character. Sex and Vanity
is sharp, clever, and irresistibly drawn.”— Cornelia Guest, Interview
"On its face, the story is a zippy beach read, but Kwan engages with serious subject matter (racism, identity, and deep-rooted Asian classism) all while thoroughly lampooning the extravagance of the ultrarich... The best part is that like all of Kwan’s work, Sex and Vanity
also functions as a vacation read — it’s funny, there are ridiculous, steamy sex scenes, and part of the book takes place at a luxurious destination wedding. It’s the kind of thing you can take to whatever beach substitute you’re working with right now (the bedroom with the most sun, or a patch of asphalt at the nearest park) and escape for a little while."— The Cut
"Sex and Vanity
[is] both homage to A Room with a View
and very much in Kwan's style. It begins as Forster's book does — with a hotel room swap — and then spins off into its own gold-plated world, with a few unexpectedly serious stops along the way... Kwan's witty Sex and Vanity
is a fine beach read.
— Moira MacDonald, Chicago Tribune
"A romantic comedy set in New York and the Hamptons, and a nuanced exploration of race and identity."
"Another riveting tale of privilege, culture and romance... in a world of extravagant fashion and deceit, resulting in one truly modern love story that you won’t be able to put down."— CNN
"A summer romp with a satirical sting."— NPR
"Perfect for when your summer travel plans are on hold and you have wonderlust." — theSkimm
"When the room with a view is Kevin Kwan's, things might get wild... There’s no other way you’re getting to Capri this summer. Here’s a ticket."— Janet Maslin, New York Times Book Review
"Part of the novel’s fun is that Kwan is in on the joke: He excels at satirizing the uber-rich. He’s also an Olympic-level name-dropper. If I had a dollar for every reference to an A-list designer or brand mentioned here, I’d be — well, still not a fraction as wealthy as these characters... Kwan’s trademark snark, which hooked “Crazy Rich Asians” fans, remains on display in this new offering... readers who follow suit can revel in the kind of extravagances that sound like a dream after months of isolation and anxiety during the coronarvirus pandemic."— Angela Haupt, Washington Post
"The Shakespeare of Status Anxiety...
Dishy and delightful, filled with all sorts of bad behavior performed in couture. But as loose and fun and compulsively readable as they are, Kwan’s novels are also very clearly the work of someone who spends much of his social time paying extremely close attention." —Ryan Bradley, The Atlantic
"A razor-sharp rake on the one percent... Like Truman Capote or Dominick Dunne before him, Kwan seems to be writing from inside the rarefied rooms where his stories take place—and he doesn’t pull any punches."—Marshall Heyman, Town & Country
"Deliciously modern... drama, diamonds, and satire galore.—Vanity Fair
"Kevin Kwan's new book is his most decadent yet."
"Kwan’s latest novel Sex and Vanity
is a retelling of E. M. Forster’s A Room With a View
. In Kwan’s hands, the classically white, British tale’s setting gets an update from the early 1900s to the 2010s, trading in a cast of characters from England’s stuffy upper crust for one of lavish, jet-setting Asian socialites."—Bustle
"A deliciously fun romp from Capri to Manhattan and East Hampton. Kwan is in fine form, gleefully name-dropping luxury brands and socialites as he spins a heartfelt, satirical tale that observes the price of fame, fortune and following your heart.”—BookPage
"True love will find a way, even among the status-obsessed and filthy rich... [With] irresistibly knowing humor and delightful central characters... While he’s engineering the timeless love story and continuing our postgraduate education in all the things money can buy, Kwan manages to take a few swipes against snobbery and racism. Nice. This is the only way you’re getting to Capri this year. Why resist?" —Kirkus
“Kwan follows up his Crazy Rich Asians trilogy with an intoxicating, breezy update of E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View
... Kwan exploits the Forster frame for clever references—including Merchant and Ivory—and provides amusing footnotes. Kwan also relishes describing lavish meals and haute couture clothing, as well as Isabel’s decadent wedding and Cecil’s imaginative, over-the-top proposal. There are moments both catty and witty... [A] delectable comedy of manners—the literary equivalent of white truffle and caviar pizza.”—Publishers Weekly