Superficial but fun, this satire describes life for Chinese old money and nouveaux: The Independent
At the heart of the novel are Nick and Rachel, a couple of university professors living in New York. Nick comes from a vastly affluent family, but Rachel is unaware of this. Their relationship has become serious, and Nick invites Rachel to accompany him to Singapore for the wedding of a friend at which Nick is to be Best Man. Nick wants Rachel to finally meet his family.
When they arrive in Singapore, Rachel is scrutinised by Nick’s relatives and friends from many different angles: curiosity, envy, gossipy camaraderie, inquisitive probing, passive aggression (from Nick’s mother, who chooses to be absent), and, just occasionally, genuine warmth. Nick’s family and those in the upper echelons of Chinese and ex-pat Chinese society, have become obsessed with the identity of this eligible bachelor’s girlfriend. Some of Nick’s relatives have even hired private investigators to analyse her family, which, disappointingly for the snobs, consists of an ordinary single-mother upbringing in the States.