Cover Image: Sex and Vanity

Sex and Vanity

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Member Reviews

I must say I was very excited to read this, as I enjoyed the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. This one, however, took me a long time to get into. Perhaps it was because I felt I had already read so much of the lifestyle in the other books that there was nothing left to tell. I might have to come back and read this one again. But for now, this one just didn't do it for me.
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I was excited to read this one and hoping to love it, but it just didn't have the same spark that the Crazy Rich Asians series did. Thank you for the opportunity to read it.
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I enjoyed this read. The source material of this book, A Room with a View, is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I was so excited to see that Kevin Kwan, author of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy (which I also love), was basing his new novel on it. It is quite evident in Kwan's book who each character represents from the original, and the book removes the homosexual undertones that were present in Foerster's original work much as the film did, but other than that, Kwan's retelling is quite faithful to the story that I've always been most familiar with. This book was enjoyable, but it doesn't have the same pluck as the CRA series. Sex and Vanity has a slower pace and more relaxed take, but I still really liked it.

My one major qualm is that the resolution felt a bit rushed. I would have liked to see that extended just a tad to make it feel like I was getting the full pay off of my journey through the book. For that reason, I dropped it half a star to 3.5 stars.
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Fun and light and a completely delightful chance to escape from the real world - exactly what we all need right now!
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I fully expected to love this one, since I loved Crazy Rich Asians so much...but maybe that's part of why I didn't, because I had expectations that this book just couldn't fulfill. Not because it's bad -- it's not! It was a perfectly lovely book. But I think a smash-hit like the Crazy Rich Asians series is hard to follow up on, and I'm frustrated with myself for not enjoying this one! I'm perfectly middle-of-the-road here -- I didn't dislike it, but I didn't *love* it.
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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A fun book filled with Kwan’s outrageous characters.  The world of fashion, travel, glorious locations  and so much more.  Truly an escape book.
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This was my first Kevin Kwan novel and I really enjoyed it. I loved the Crazy Rich Asians movie so I was excited to read one of his books with that same feel. Although the premise of a woman being annoyed by a man and then falling in love with him is a bit overdone, then add to that the cliched love triangle of Lucie running into George again when she was with someone else, it was still a really fun novel to read. I also thought Lucie's struggle with her half-white/half-Asian identity added some depth to the romcom.
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I am a member of the American Library Association Reading List Award Committee. This title was suggested for the 2021 list. It was not nominated for the award. The complete list of winners and shortlisted titles is at <a href="https://rusaupdate.org/2021/02/2021-reading-list-years-best-in-genre-fiction-for-adult-readers/">
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A classic love story told in the classic Kwan style (breezy, chic, and snarky). Our heroine, Lucie, is at times so self-conscious that she becomes mind-numbingly neurotic, but she redeems herself in the end. The hero, George, is more of an idea than a leading man, but when the setting and the secondary characters are is this decadent one can overlook.
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I had high hopes for this novel but it fell a bit flat for me. Gorgeous setting and over-the-top characters like we've enjoyed before in Kwan's work, but the storyline wasn't as compelling as in the CRA trilogy.
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A wonderful, fun escapist read that is an update of E.M. Forster’s "A Room with a View." Kwan's specialty of describing the lavish details of the rich and famous is the highlight once again.
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This did not compare to Crazy Rich Asians to me, and I detested how laudable the Jewish character was
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Fun homage to A Room With a View!  Kevin Kwan is one of the best authors for fun, jet-setting beach reads (with a little social commentary thrown in).  The footnotes add an extra dash of fun.
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Great story and loved the slight romance. Really enjoyed the characters and how the plot moved and how the characters changed throughout the book. I would read this author again.
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If there’s an upside to our historic levels of income inequality, it’s the return of the class-driven comedy of manners, updated for the twenty-first century by Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan. His new book, the unambiguously titled Sex and Vanity, is a contemporary remix of A Room with a View, E. M. Forster’s 1908 novel about uptight Edwardians behaving badly during a sun-drenched sojourn in Italy, then confronting the consequences back home. More accurately, it’s an homage to the 1985 Merchant Ivory movie adaptation of the novel, laden with Easter eggs for fans of the film: a striped rowing blazer, a skinny-dipping session, a Kiri Te Kanawa cameo.

Forster was all about suggestion and subtle wit. Kwan’s style is not for everyone. Certainly no one would confuse its incessant name-dropping, snarky one-liners, and characters that are collections of private school pedigrees and designer labels more than substance, with E.M. Forster. But Sex and Vanity is surprisingly faithful to its source material, and both authors fixate on class and heterosexual courtship, two things that clearly haven’t evolved much since the Edwardian Era. Reputations are just as fragile in the age of social media as they were at the turn of the last century, and petty slights are equally consequential among those who only have “rich people problems,” to quote the title of Kwan’s last novel.

Along with the Merchant Ivory overtones, there’s a hint of Mamma Mia! zaniness to the plot, which is similarly centered around a destination wedding on a Mediterranean island; Kwan substitutes the tony Italian enclave of Capri for tourist-trap Greece. The bride, Isabel, is a Taiwanese plastics heiress raised in New York, now leading a glamorous life in film production in Los Angeles. The groom, Dolfi, is the polo-playing son of an Italian count, with the “perfect patrician profile” that “comes only to people born to Roman families that have spent at least fifteen generations drinking water straight out of their ancient aqueducts.”

If the relationship seems manufactured for maximum culture-clash value, it hardly matters; the nuptials are simply a narrative excuse to bring together a quirky assortment of guests in a picturesque foreign locale, just as Forster’s Florence pensione was. The wedding week itinerary promises free-flowing Bellinis and a packed schedule of over-the-top events, each with their own dress codes, including “beach chic” and “resort chic” as well as “formal” and “informal.”....
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Sex and Vanity is frothy, gossipy and fun. What happens over the long weekend of an exciting, expensive wedding - sex, love, romance, thrills.
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Fun book! I really enjoy all of the footnotes that explain the culture and provide background. Not as entertaining as Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians series, though.
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Definitely not as sharp & witty as the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy but, as almost every review says, it’s the only way anyone is getting to Capri this summer! Fun & frothy escapism for these bleak times.
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Sumptuous descriptions of where & how the super rich  live and play. Young Lucie is looking forward to attending her friend Issie’s wedding, even more so since it’s on the island of Capri. But her older cousin Charlotte is along to chaperone.  Fast forwards five years, and a twenty-something Lucie is engaged and working her dream job. Everything is perfect, or is it?
Looking forward to the sequel!
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