With the blockbuster success of “Crazy Rich Asians,” the book it’s based on — Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel of the same name — has returned to the top of The New York Times bestseller list. For readers who have already devoured Kwan’s novel and are looking for something equally indulgent with characters that are just as ridiculously wealthy, we’ve rounded up three books by South Asian novelists that fit the bill.
“We That Are Young” By Preti Taneja
Taneja’s buzzy new novel takes the plot of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and transplants it to contemporary New Delhi. “We That Are Young” introduces us to Jivan Singh, an illegitimate son of the wealthy and powerful Devraj family. At 23, Jivan is returning to India after living in the United States for 15 years. His reemergence coincides with the moment the Devraj patriarch decides to the resign from the company that bears the family name. If that weren’t enough, Devraj’s daughter has disappeared after refusing to marry her family’s choice for her.
“Taneja’s characters eat and drink a lot, fret over their hair and their clothes,” noted Rumaan Alam in his New York Times review. “It’s sometimes more Bret Easton Ellis than the Bard.” Despite — or maybe because of that — “We That Are Young” is both provocative and memorable.
Order your copy here.
“The Windfall” by Diksha Basu
“What Kevin Kwan did for rich people problems, Diksha Basu does for trying-to-be-rich-people problems,” was how People described Basu’s 2017 novel about a social climbing Delhi family. The book centers on Anil Jha, a career entrepreneur who comes into the windfall of the book’s title when he sells one of his companies for $20 million. With their new fortune, the Jhas are finally able to move out of their middle class apartment compound to an old money neighborhood in Gurgaon. As they adjust with mixed results to their newfound wealth, they also have to deal with the contempt of their generationally wealthy neighbors while also sometimes longing for the simplicity of their former lives.
Purchase “The Windfall” here.
“How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia” by Mohsin Hamid
With a title like that, we knew that we had to include Mohsin Hamid’s 2013 novel on this list. Hamid’s story follows a fictional unnamed narrator in an unnamed country as he attempts to rise to the top of the economic ladder. Readers follow along as he goes from a young boy in a poor family to an adult whose intense ambition leads him to enter the bottled water business in pursuit of the riches he’s always dreamed of.
Order “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia’ here.