Sex And Vanity - Kevin Kwan - Keeping Up With The Penguins
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Sex And Vanity begins with 19-year-old Lucie attending the Capri wedding of her former babysitter, escorted by her older cousin who intends to “keep her out of trouble”.

Of course, trouble finds Lucie regardless, in the form of the charismatic and enigmatic George Zao.

All of the players are rich beyond measure, and the wedding is an exercise in especially-conspicuous consumption, exactly what you’d expect from the pen of Kevin Kwan (of Crazy Rich Asians fame).

I came to this one with high hopes for a light-hearted summer romp through the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It delivers, but unfortunately the sparkling premise is let down by flat prose.

Every page is littered with adverbs (how often can your main character do something “nervously”?), the dialogue is stilted, and the story (loosely based on E.M. Forster’s A Room With A View) just didn’t have enough substance to compensate for its lack of style.

That said, even though it wasn’t for me, I’m sure Sex And Vanity will still find its audience.