This book was like being given a free pass into an exclusive day spa. You’ll come out pink and pampered, and possibly a little dazed.

I’ll admit I’m not usually a fan of modern retellings of classic books. Generally I run a mile when Lizzie Bennet flashes her eyes or rears her pretty head in the 20th or 21st centuries. But all of this went out the window when I saw Kevin Kwan’s latest book was soon to be released. Sex and Vanity is a modern retelling of EM Forster’s novel Room With A View.

I jumped (begged and pleaded) for the chance to read an early copy and spent last weekend holed up inside reading.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy has taken the world by storm. The film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians, the first book in the trilogy, had phenomenal success at the box office.

Kwan is known for his satirical take on the filthy rich lifestyles of the 1%. As readers we watch fascinated as his characters live lavish and obscenely extravagant lifestyles. He is the modern master of the absurd. But it is the relationships in his stories that readers find charming. In Sex and Vanity, Kwan turns his attention to affluent American Chinese to explore the racism his mixed-race characters suffer even from their own families.

There are layers here for the discerning reader, and also fun and entertainment. Sex and Vanity is clever, dazzling and rich in detail. This book was like being given a free pass into an exclusive day spa. You’ll come out pink and pampered, and possibly a little dazed.

Get your hands on a copy if you can!

Many thanks to Penguin Books Australia for an early copy to review.