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Rich People Problems is a satirical 2017 romantic comedy novel by Kevin Kwan. It is the third and final novel in Kwan's "Crazy Rich..." trilogy that looks at the rich and powerful families of Singapore. It was preceded by the bestsellerz of Crazy Rich Asians' in 2013 Chinese Rich Girlfriend in 2015.

Rich People Problems
Rich People Problems (Kwan, 2017).png
AuthorKevin Kwan
CountryAmerica
LanguageEnglish
GenreNovel
Publication date
May 23, 2017
Media typePrint
Pages582
ISBN978-0-385-54232-6
Preceded byChina Rich Girlfriend 

PlotEdit

In 2015, two years after the events that take place in China Rich Girlfriend, Nick and Rachel Young (née Chu), an economics professor at New York University (NYU), are happily married and living their life in Manhattan. Nick is informed by his mother Eleanor that his grandmother, Su Yi, has had a heart attack, and that he must come home to reconcile with her before she dies. While Nick wants to make up with his grandmother out of guilt for having shut her out of his life for marrying Rachel (as Su Yi was opposed to the marriage), his mother wants him to make amends so that he will be re-introduced into the will and inherit Tyersall Park, Su Yi's home. The extended Shang-Young clan has descended upon Tyersall Park to say their last goodbyes with the hopes of getting into Su Yi's good graces and inherit part of her fortune.

Nick is initially prevented from seeing Su Yi due to scheming from his cousin Eddie Cheng, who believes he has a shot at inheriting his grandmother's estate. Eddie lies and convinces the entire family and house staff that Su Yi does not wish to see Nick while she is on her deathbed. With the help of the head of security, the head maid (who overheard Eddie's plotting) and Astrid, Nick is able to sneak into Tyersall Park and speak with his grandmother while she is in a cardiac intensive care unit in her bedroom. She is happy to see him and they make amends. Meanwhile, Astrid, Nick's cousin, becomes engaged again to Charlie Wu. Her relationship with Charlie faces obstacles from Charlie's scorned ex-wife Isabel Wu and Astrid's soon-to-be ex-husband Michael Teo. Astrid receives a grainy video depicting her and Charlie having sex in his bedroom from Michael, with a threat of releasing the video unless he is given 5 billion dollars in their divorce settlement. The video is released by Isabel just before she attempts suicide.

Astrid is shunned by her family and retreats into seclusion, not even telling Charlie where she went. He goes to great lengths to track her down, eventually finding her on an island, where they have sex on the beach. He reveals to her that he has gotten Michael to sign off on their divorce without any challenge by threatening to have him prosecuted for illegal surveillance of Astrid and blackmail. He tells her that though Isabel survived her suicide attempt and is now in stable condition, her family had found out that she was involved in blackmailing Astrid with Michael and that she will face humiliation of her own. Astrid says that she wants to stay and to bring her son Cassian to live with the people on the island. Charlie is willing to let her have the life she wants but wants to know if there is any room for him.

Su Yi dies and everyone prepares for her funeral. In her will, she leaves a share of Tyersall Park to each of her four daughters (Alexandra, Felicity, Victoria, and Catherine) and her son (Phillip, Nick's father) along with a share to Nick and his cousin (and Eddie's brother) Alistair Cheng. Upon the reading of the will, Eddie is humiliated to be left with nothing except his grandfather's antique sapphire cuff links. Astrid inherits Su-Yi's fashionable dresses and jewelry. Jacqueline inherits her shares at Ling Holdings, making her a wealthy woman and angering the family, who expected to inherit some of those shares, and now only have Tyersall Park.

Returning to Tyersall Park, Eddie furiously confronts Fiona for humiliating him by not telling him about the contents of the will, and ruining their family's opportunity to live in luxury. Fiona claims that she respected Su-Yi's privacy and that she only picked up the pen to sign the paper as a witness. Eddie ends up curled up in a ball, crying, with Fiona comforting him. The family initially agrees to sell Tyersall Park to Jack Bing, to be used by his new wife Kitty, the former Hong Kong soap actress (and Alistair's former fiancee), for 10 billion dollars, because there are no funds to maintain it. Nick cannot bring himself to let Tyersall Park go, and so he attempts to buy out the shares owned by his four aunts, with his father signing over his portion directly to Nick. But he is not able to raise the money to do this.

Nick takes a trip to visit an elderly Thai prince, based on a note left to him by his grandmother, thinking that this is the key to the funding to buy Tyersall Park. However he learns that this Prince was his grandmother's first love, and probably Aunt Catherine's biological father. Nick also learns that during World War II, Su Yi aided in the resistance effort against the Japanese occupation of Singapore by providing Tyersall Park as a safe haven for many Chinese and British agents working against the Japanese. Nick then tries to block the sale of Tyersall Park by claiming that it is a historic site. Rachel and Nick bring together Nick's friends Colin and Araminta Khoo, Rachel's friend Goh Peik Lin, and Alistair to buy Tyersall Park and turn it into the Tyersall Museum and Hotel. Kitty completes the deal by becoming a secret investor in their group in order to spite Jack, who had decided to buy Tyersall Park for Colette (his daughter) instead of Kitty.

One year later, Peik Lin is getting married to Alistair, with Nick and Rachel serving as best man and maid of honor. After years of trying to conceive, Araminta and Colin now have a 2 month old son. Eddie finally changes his ways after Fiona convinces him to seek help and he goes to a therapist. Astrid continues to live on the island with Charlie and has started designing her own clothes. She does not wish to get married yet, instead preferring to live "a life of sin" with Charlie, enjoys the fact that this very much bothers her parents. Rachel reveals to Nick that she is 6 weeks pregnant. They both jokingly agree to not tell Nick's mother about the news, agreeing to wait at least until their child is 21.

WritingEdit

Kwan has said that this book was actually the first he had mapped out when he was first planning his trilogy.[1]

CharactersEdit

  • Rachel Young (née Chu): Married to Nick Young. A Chinese-American woman who is an economics professor at New York University.
  • Nicholas "Nick" Young: Rachel's husband who is a history professor, also at New York University. He currently lives with Rachel in New York City, but is originally from Singapore and hails from a rich and powerful family.
  • Eleanor Young (née Sung): Nick's controlling mother, who schemes for her son to inherit her mother-in-law's great estate, Tyersall Park.
  • Astrid Leong: Nick's fashionable cousin whose reputation is put on the line due to her affair with her later fiancé, Charlie Wu.
  • Peik Lin Cheng (née Goh Peik Lin): Rachel's rich Singaporean best friend from college, who is later married to Nick's cousin Alistair.
  • Araminta Khoo (née Lee): The wealthy heiress wife of Nick's best friend, the billionaire Colin Khoo, who just had a miscarriage.
  • Edison "Eddie" Cheng: Nick's cousin who's very eager to inherit Tyersall Park. Eddie is ambitious and wants to prove to everyone who matters that he can live a lavish lifestyle, yet his personal philosophy clashes with his parents who live a simple and modest life from their wealth. He is later humiliated upon the reading of Su-Yi's will which left him out of the Tyersall Park shares that not only went to his mother, his aunts and uncle, but also Nick and Alistair.
  • Fiona Cheng (née Tung) : Eddie's wife who comes from Hong Kong old money. She is one of the witnesses to Shang Su Yi's will.
  • Alistair Cheng: Eddie's younger brother who is involved in Hong Kong's movie business. He is later married to Rachel's best friend, Peik Lin. Su-Yi left him a share in Tyersall Park
  • Oliver T'sien: Nick's cousin who also works as Kitty's art consultant and buyer. His family has apparently lost most of their money in the Barings Bank collapse, and he keeps it a secret from his wealthier Shang-Young relatives.
  • Cassandra Shang: Nick's gossipy second cousin who seems to know everything about everyone, earning her the nickname "Radio One Asia".
  • Jacqueline Ling: Shang Su Yi's youthful goddaughter, daughter of a wealthy, old-moneyed philanthropist and currently the partner of a Norwegian billionaire. She apparently inherits a huge amount of shares from the Ling family's company that was given to Shang Su Yi during a mahjong game, but is now worth half a billion dollars.
  • Kitty Bing (formerly Kitty Pong, née Pong Li Li): The new jet-setting wife of China's second richest man, billionaire Jack Bing. She always feels upstaged by her stepdaughter, Colette, both in her husband's attention and her high society life. Thanks to investing her entire divorce settlement from her previous husband in Amazon, she manages to become the secret investor in keeping Tyersall Park from being sold to Jack (and Colette).
  • Datin Carol Tai: A devout Christian who is the widow of a corrupt billionaire, the late Dato' Tai Toh Lui. She is on good terms with her ex daughter-in-law, Kitty, despite the fact that Kitty later divorced her son.
  • Shang Su Yi, Lady Young: Nick's powerful, and now dying grandmother who lives in her great estate, Tyersall Park. Nick and Su Yi were very close throughout Nick's childhood, but when Su Yi discovers in Crazy Rich Asians that Nick's girlfriend Rachel is not wealthy, she disowns him and this drives a wedge between the two. She later reconciles with Nick after learning that Rachel isn't the gold digger that she thought Rachel was and that her father is a Chinese billionaire.
  • Alfred Shang: Shang Su Yi's powerful younger brother who lives in his great estate in Surrey.
  • Victoria Young: One of Nick's aunts, she is Shang Su Yi's unmarried daughter.
  • Catherine Young: Nick's aunt who married into Thai royalty. She is herself the secret love child of Shang Su Yi and a Thai prince.
  • Tan Sri Harry Leong and Puan Sri Felicity Leong (née Young): Astrid's extremely wealthy, powerful, and controlling parents.
  • Michael Teo: Astrid's scorned soon-to-be ex-husband, a tech billionaire who plots revenge on Astrid by ruining her reputation. In the second book, Michael's start-up tech company became a huge success but this was secretly due to Charlie investing in the company as a means of helping his former love Astrid save her marriage. He was falsely believed to be having an affair with another woman in Shanghai in Crazy Rich Asians. He later accepts a $10 million bribe from Charlie to leave Singapore and Astrid alone in exchange for him never exposing his illegal surveillance to the authorities and her wealthy family.
  • Charlie Wu: Astrid's tech billionaire ex-boyfriend, later fiancé, who finally gets back together with her, despite their obstacles.
  • Isabel Wu: Charlie's scorned ex-wife who suddenly shows up in Singapore to ruin Astrid's reputation. After feigning a suicide attempt, her family discovers Isabel's involvement with Michael from Charlie and spurns her for embarrassing them.
  • Colette Bing, Countess of Palliser: Kitty's stepdaughter who seems to have changed a great deal from her old ways since her video scandal from the previous book, an event which led her to exile in England. She is now married to environmental lawyer Lucien Plantagenet Montagu-Scott, Earl of Palliser, who is himself the son of England's fifth-largest landowner, the Duke of Glencora, and a wealthy French noblewoman.
  • Jack Bing: Kitty's new billionaire husband, the second (or third, fourth, seventh, depending on the tabloid doing the ranking) richest man in China. He gives an enormous divorce settlement to his ex-wife and trust fund to his daughter, Colette, despite having claimed that he cut her off due to her video scandal, both of which bother Kitty a great deal.
  • Carlton Bao: Rachel's sports car-collecting, Fuerdai half-brother, who used to date Colette.
  • Scheherazade Shang: Alistair and Nick's beautiful Eurasian cousin who studies at the Sorbonne and is also Carlton's new love interest. She has been pursued by high-profile men like Prince Harry, but without success.
  • Wandi Meggaharto Widjawa: One of Kitty's new jet-setting socialite friends. She is the daughter of a wealthy, aristocratic Chinese-Indonesian oligarch.

ReceptionEdit

The novel received positive reviews and was noted by USA Today to be "a memorable, laugh-out-loud Asian glitz fest that’s a pure pleasure to read".[2]

Film adaptationEdit

Time reported on August 15, 2018 that Kwan has been tasked with developing the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians from his two follow-up novels including China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.[3] The planning was still in pre-production concerning the back-to-back filming of both sequels following Crazy Rich Asians as of August 2018, though several of the key actors are committed to other projects until 2020.[4] Awkwafina was interviewed in January of 2019 and indicated that there were still no scripts for the sequel and that production filming had not started.[5] According to Town and Country magazine, the filming and premiere of the film is not scheduled to take place until 2020.[6] According to a Slash film journal article, the two sequels, including Rich People Problems, will be shot back-to-back in 2020 once the filming commences.[7]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Biedenharn, Isabella. "'Kevin Kwan teases 'Rich People Problems'". Entertainment Weekly.
  2. ^ Cha, Steph. "Kevin Kwan's 'Rich People Problems' is a flashy, funny bauble". USA Today.
  3. ^ Ho, Karen (August 15, 2018). "Crazy Rich Asians Is Going to Change Hollywood. It's About Time". TIME. pp. 40–46. Retrieved 25 August 2018. (physically published in August 27, 2018 issue; digitally published on August 15)
  4. ^ "Crazy Rich Asians 2: Everything We Know About The Sequel's Story" BY ANA DUMARAOG. AUG 28, 2018. Screen Rant ORIGINALS. [1]
  5. ^ Interview with Awkwafina. January 29, 2019. [2]
  6. ^ "A Crazy Rich Asians Sequel Is in the Works and We Can't Wait Here's everything we know so far," by CAROLINE HALLEMANN, MAR 6, 2019, Town and Country magazine. [3]
  7. ^ "Crazy Rich Asians Sequels to Shoot Back-to-Back", December 7th, 2018, by Hoai-Tran Bui, Slash films journal. [4]