Book review of Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan


The rollicking Lies and Weddings starts in Hong Kong before skipping to a tony estate in the English countryside, then on to a Kona clifftop in Hawaii. And that’s just in the first 22 pages.

Since Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan has been known for globe-spanning, culture-melding stories. In his delightful new novel, we meet Rufus Gresham, a handsome viscount whose father is the Earl of Greshamsbury whose mother, Lady Augusta Gresham, is a former supermodel. Sounds impressive, but the Greshams are in crushing debt thanks to the family’s expensive tastes.

Enter Dr. Thomas Tong and his daughter, Dr. Eden Tong, both physicians who live in a cottage on the Greshamsbury property. Thomas and the earl are best friends from their college days, and Thomas has helped connect his friend with a wealthy yet mysterious benefactor. Eden and Rufus have been best friends since they were children, but when they meet up in Hawaii for the wedding of Rufus’ sister, sparks fly in more ways than one.

Like every Kwan novel, Lies and Weddings is chock-full of scheming characters and breathtakingly lavish scenes. I’m not cultured enough to recognize all the brand names and jet-setting locations Kwan drops, but that doesn’t take away from the absolute pleasure of reading about rich and beautiful people behaving—for the most part—very badly. Kwan remains a cheekily hilarious writer, with footnotes that give each chapter an extra kick: Eden and a friend eat lunch at a Los Angeles hot spot, and see “a certain British pop star who wants to be an actor having lunch with a certain A-list producer, a certain billionaire film investor kid, and also a legendary supermodel and her influencer daughter, and the daughter’s boyfriend, who also wants to act.” As the footnote tells us, “Out of respect for their privacy, these high-profile individuals will not be identified by their names (or their schools).”

I drank this book up like the chilled bottles of Sancerre these characters are constantly being served. Pure pleasure.

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