Sex and Vanity

Sex and Vanity

by Kevin Kwan

Hardcover

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Overview

A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick! 

"Kevin Kwan's new book is his most decadent yet." —Entertainment Weekly

The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with the glittering tale of a young woman who finds herself torn between two men: the WASPY fiancé of her family's dreams and George Zao, the man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with.


On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can't stand him. She can't stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can't stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can't stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. "Your mother is Chinese so it's no surprise you'd be attracted to someone like him," Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world—and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385546270
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/30/2020
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,348
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

KEVIN KWAN is the author of the international bestsellers Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, and Rich People Problems. Crazy Rich Asians was a #1 New York Times bestseller, a major motion picture, and has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Los Angeles and is trying to eat less pasta.

Reading Group Guide

SEX AND VANITY
QUESTIONS AND TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION



1. Charlotte interprets Rosemary Zao’s offer of her hotel rooms as showing off her wealth, but Lucie has a different take on it as a reflection of Chinese culture and attitudes toward wealth and generosity. Who do you think is right?

2. What did you think of Lucie’s scrutiny of George’s social media profiles? Would you have done the same thing?

3. Discuss Lucie’s attitude toward her mixed-race ethnicity and how it informs her ill-fated engagement to Cecil.

4. Speaking of Lucie and Cecil’s engagement, what did you think of his dramatic proposal? Creative or too over the top?

5. What did you think of Lucie’s grandmother referring to Lucie as her “precious China doll”? Later in the novel Charlotte says “she’s not a racist, just a snob.” Do you agree?

6. Discuss the connection between Lucie denying herself the opportunity to embrace her own talent as an artist and her efforts to resist her attraction to George.

7. Lucie’s cousin Charlotte reveals her true self in surprising ways as the novel unfolds. What were your first impressions of her, and how did they change?

8. Discuss the symmetry and significance of uber-WASP Cornelia Guest and Rosemary Zao as the two women who help Lucie to finally embrace her truth.

9. Casting call: who would play Lucie, George, and Cecil in the movie?

10. The author creates memorable characters in all of his novels. Who are your favorite characters in this novel and why?

11. Discuss the ending of the novel. Did you find it satisfying or did you want to see Lucie and George tie the knot?

12. Sex and Vanity was written as an homage to A Room with a View. If you’re familiar with E.M. Forster’s classic novel, did this connection come to mind? And if you haven’t read A Room with a View, are you inspired to read it now?

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