Driving home the other day, I took my leave of the Crazy Rich Asians universe, the cast of characters Kevin Kwan created and carried through three novels — the sequels are China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.
I have to say the resolution at the end of the third book is among my favorites in many years of absorbing stories in all shapes and sizes and formats. The loose ends are all tied up neatly and in ways that are true to the story. Nicholas Young and Rachel Chu, Astrid Leong and Charlie Wu, and all the rest of the characters land in a good place — even the “villains” are handled in wonderfully appropriate ways.
Best of all is the final fate of Tyersall Park, the 64-acre estate where Nick’s grandmother Su Yi holds court. By the end of the third book, we have a stake in the future of Tyersall Park, very much like the feeling we have for what happens to Downton Abbey or — dare I say it? —the starship Enterprise (I am still bitter about Star Trek III).
I managed to make it all the way to 2022 without any knowledge of what Crazy Rich Asians is all about, and so I hesitate to share any of the story for the benefit of others in my position. Part of the fun was being surprised by everything along the way. I don’t think I’m giving much away to give away that the books, and the trilogy, have a happy ending — they’re essentially comedies, after all.
Kwan’s universe is populated with some of the most endearing — as well as some of the most petty and annoying — characters imaginable, and he does a masterful job of juggling a huge cast and keeping us engaged.
And audiobook narrators Lynn Chen (Book 1) and Lydia Look (Books 2 and 3) wonderfully bring all those characters to life.
I didn’t expect to love this gang as much as I do. The ride home listening to the final hour was one of those bittersweet experiences that fiction readers have from time to time, when we know a favorite book is coming to an end.