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.
PEOPLE WATCHING HAS NEVER BEEN SO MUCH FUN.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Get ready for another glamorous romantic novel from the bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians. Lucille Church is part of the posh jet-setting elite. She went to all the best schools and is a fixture at all the hottest parties. So she would never date George Zao. After all, he’s…well, Asian—and not a cool, hip, bi-racial Asian-American like she is. But whether Lucille is partying it up in Capri or the Hamptons, George just keeps showing up, reminding Lucille just how kind, gracious, gorgeous and smart he is. Would she ever do something as provincial and stereotypical as falling in love with the “perfect” Asian man? We were swept up by the will-they-or-won’t-they tension of Lucille and George’s romance and by the sumptuous depictions of lavish clothes and extravagant accommodations that we’ve come to expect from Kevin Kwan. Thanks, once again, for the entertaining and escapist ride.
Kwan follows up his Crazy Rich Asians trilogy with an intoxicating, breezy update of E.M. Forster's A Room with a View. Lucie Tang Churchill, 19, a privileged "hapa" (she is half Chinese, half WASP) attends her richer friend Isabel's wedding in Capri. After Lucie meets Isabel's cousin George Zao, a rich, handsome, Chinese-Australian surfer, she becomes a "bundle of conflicting emotions," repulsed by her attraction to the "brooding weirdo took himself much too seriously." Still, they hook up, at risk of jeopardizing Lucie's reputation as an eligible bride. Four years later, Lucie and George's paths cross in New York, only now Lucie is engaged to Cecil Pike. However, Lucy can't get George out of her mind, and she is flummoxed by his kindness. When Lucy, George, and Cecil attend a film screening featuring a sex scene that reminds her of what she did with George in Capri, Lucie doubles down on suppressing her true desires. 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, but this delectable comedy of manners the literary equivalent of white truffle and caviar pizza is still pizza.