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I took the author of Crazy Rich Asians to dinner. He called the meal at this Kensington Market staple one of the best of his life.


After dinner at Sunnys Chinese in Toronto, author Kevin Kwan gave a shout-out on Instagram to rising Toronto star David Schwartz and gushed that it “ended up being one of the best meals of my life.”

So many authors!

All the time.

Mission number one this week: taking Mr. Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan, for an epic feast in the depths of Kensington Market while he was swinging through T.O. It came about after a talk I hosted with him on Monday at Hot Docs Cinema re: his latest, greatest, “Lies and Weddings.”

The novel? It is a tarty, globe-fanning story built around the travails of Rufus Leung Gresham, the only hunkalicious son of a British earl and Hong Kong supermodel, who discovers that his noble family is — gasp! — going broke. “No one had any inkling that behind all the magazine features and Instagram stories of the glamorous Greshams — luxuriating in couture at their swoon-worthy manor, glistening with golden tans aboard their antique black-sailed yacht in the Ionian Sea — rose a gargantuan mountain of debt,” as the author writes.

Kwan being Kwan, our volley of convo extended to the following, though not exclusive, topics: the 14 microclimates on the Big Island of Hawaii (where much of the first part of the book takes place), the history of YSL style in Morocco (where another part of it does!), the magic of Prada Marfa on U.S. Route 90 in Texas, the nature of “Dragon Moms,” the shadow of colonialism, the peculiarities of L.A. (where Kwan moved recently), memories of working with the one-and-only Elizabeth Taylor ages ago and — OK — the 1990s-era glamour of Felix, atop the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.

At a dinner for seven, held here at the always buzzy Sunnys Chinese, there was some of the same chit-chat and also more about the plans moving forward to turn “Crazy Rich Asians” into a Broadway musical. But now held over a never-ending array of dishes, about 30 of them! Think: “chongqin noodle” and “husband and wife beef” and a seriously main character dish that was the sea bass with doubanjiang and fermented ginger. If my goal had been to give Kwan the best meal of his dizzying tour (15 cities in 16 days!), I kinda over-performed.

“Every dish is good,” he declared at one point, though his eyes lit up in particular — lit up like Henry Golding’s Nick when he sees Constance Yu’s Rachel in the over-the-top wedding scene in the movie version of “Crazy Rich Asians” — when he came face to face with the “crispy Hong Kong French Toast with black sesame jam and oolong condensed milk,” toward the end of our meal.

“Just not flavours you get very often,” he deliberated. The next day, Kwan — whose novels always include so much food porn — went one further. In a reel posted on his Instagram feed, he not only gave a shout-out to rising Toronto star David Schwartz, but also gushed that the Sunnys dinner “ended up being one of the best meals of my life.” High praise, indeed.

Ruth Ware.JPG

Over drinks with Shinan Govani, British author Ruth Ware talked about her latest novel, “One Perfect Couple,” which was partly inspired by the British version of “The Traitors.”

And not even the end of my authorial meet-cutes this week. Sticking to libations this time, I also fit in an audience with the amazing Ruth Ware. Often dubbed “the Agatha Christie of our generation” — with nine million books sold! — I could not wait to get into it with the Brit about her newest, “One Perfect Couple.”

It, after all, is everything you want in one of her thrillers — and instantly in my top tier of Ware novels, being a Ware completist. A tropical island survivor thriller, it is like “Lord of the Flies” meets “Love Island” meets that other super popular show, “The Traitors.” Indeed, the latter is partly what inspired her — the British version of “The Traitors,” specifically — she told me.

“I just find it so fascinating how often people read each other so very wrong” on that show, Ware mused, while nursing a Sauvignon Blanc at the bar inside the newish Abrielle on King West. Much like in life!

Curious about the main protagonist, Lyla, in “One Perfect Couple” — who is a virologist, of all things — she reminded me that her real-life husband is one, too. One of the reasons she knows — as a character points out in her book — that you are 10 times more likely to die from a mosquito than a snake. Oh yeah, baby.

Most writers marry other writers, she mentioned. But in her own marriage, there is often this dynamic where her husband — especially when they travel — is always “weighing the risks.” Her own mind? It works differently. “I am more interested in the what-ifs.”

Along the way, Ware also filled me in a little about the Netflix movie in the works of one of her previous thrillers, “The Woman in Cabin 10.” Keira Knightley is committed to star. Exciting!

What if, indeed.

Credit belongs to : www.thestar.com

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