The Expatriates

The Expatriates

3.62 (8,314 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Set in present-day Hong Kong, The Expatriates follows the lives of three women. An unspeakable tragedy leaves twenty-something Mercy with a crippling personal inertia, and Margaret, a mother of three, numb and unable to heal. In the same small expatriate community, Hilary tries to distract herself from a marriage gone stale by providing piano lessons for a local orphan, only to find her actions openly criticized on an anonymous online forum.

The individual, sometimes overlapping perspectives of Mercy, Margaret and Hilary are woven together, exposing the insularity and complex privilege of the expatriate world, whilst also revealing the fragility of a woman's position in the world. When the women are struck by tragedy, each of them realizes how shockingly dependent they were upon conforming to the unspoken rules of their milieu. In Hong Kong, without speaking Cantonese or having a job (it is almost always the husband who precipitates the move), these women find themselves, almost unexpectedly, stripped of their former identities and living in a land of country clubs and housemaids. Cut off from family, friends, and jobs, they find themselves in a world where the old rules no longer apply.

The Expatriates is a novel about overpowering grief, the transformative power of forgiveness and how finding oneself in a strange land can be the best way to find one's true self.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 159 x 241 x 32mm | 578g
  • Little, Brown
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1408706857
  • 9781408706855
  • 256,731

Review Text

I raced through this enthralling story of three very different American women living in the same small expat community in Hong Kong. One devastating moment has irreversible consequences for all three. I kept saying 'no, no, no' as I read the description of that moment. My husband said, 'What?' - and I said, 'Be quiet. Let me read.' Liane Moriarty
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Review quote

A novel about displacement and belonging . . . A thoughtful portrait of motherhood trade-offs, the book also offers sharp insights into the tensions between moneyed expats and the impoverished locals who serve them * People, 'The Best New Books' * Janice Y. K. Lee nails family drama and gentrified Hong Kong * New York Magazine * Powerful [and] nuanced . . . poignant and compelling . . . The Expatriates moves with urgency, but also takes time to slowly reveal a complex story. Lee's storytelling is intricate, precise and rich enough to keep the reader seduced until the end * Seattle Times * One chief pleasure of The Expatriates is watching how the lives of Hilary, Mercy and Margaret converge and are changed by that convergence, and how they each metabolize grief. A more subtle yet lingering benefit is getting to know Lee's acutely observed Hong Kong, a city on the cusp of change that must eventually affect the lives of expatriates and locals alike * Los Angeles Times * Offers sharp insights into the tensions between moneyed expats and the impoverished locals who serve them * People, "The Best New Books" * A remarkably touching and quite, quite beautiful read. Set in Hong Kong, the prologue is teeming with people making their way to this remarkable city...Janice Y. K. Lee writes with an exquisite, startling intensity...There is a real depth and energy to the writing, yet the thread of compassion that weaves through the pages ensures a delicate balance. The Expatriates' is wonderfully fascinating, compelling and profound, and I absolutely loved it * Lovereading, January 2016 Book of the Month * Lee has written a book that manages to shine a penetrating light on both the ups and downs of the expat experience and the resilience of human spirit...A perceptive and compelling tale. By laying bare three lives and dishing out a series of hard knocks, Janice Lee expertly demonstrates how "small decisions lead to big effects" * Literary Review * Irresistible . . . Lee's wizardry is her ability to whip drama, pathos and humor into a scrumptious page-turning blend. * USA Today, 4/4 stars * A female, funny Henry James in Asia, Janice Y. K. Lee is vividly good on the subject of Americans abroad...vibrant social satire: Inside these dark materials lies the sharpness of a comic novelist, and Lee's eye for the nuance and clash of culture, class, race and sex is subtle and shrewd * New York Times Book Review * Gorgeously wrought * Marie Claire * We imagine we know these [expatriate] women, who are distanced from their work, friends, and family, but we don't. Janice Y. K. Lee does. Set in Hong Kong, The Expatriates looks inside the lives of three women . . . all in crisis, all needing one another in ways they, and we, can't imagine * Vanity Fair * An emotionally gripping page-turner * Elle * Beautiful and heartbreaking * Hello * We found ourselves racing through this exotic, sexy, heartbreaking book. . . . We couldn't wait to find out what happens to each of the women * Glamour * Lee excels at conveying the claustrophobic atmosphere of expat life. Despite their various degrees of privilege and wealth, Hilary, Margaret and Mercy are all forced to operate within a tight framework of expectations. . . shrewd and moving -- Anna James * Financial Times * Brilliantly plotted and written, utterly absorbing, often heartbreaking, The Expatriates looks set to be one of the books of the year * Daily Mail * I raced through this enthralling story of three very different American women living in the same small expat community in Hong Kong. One devastating moment has irreversible consequences for all three. I kept saying 'no, no, no' as I read the description of that moment. My husband said, 'What?' - and I said, 'Be quiet. Let me read.' * Liane Moriarty *
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About Janice Y. K. Lee

Janice Y. K. Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong. She graduated from Harvard College with a degree in English and American Literature and Language. A former editor at Elle, she lives in New York with her husband and four children.
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Rating details

8,314 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 16% (1,321)
4 42% (3,469)
3 33% (2,746)
2 8% (628)
1 2% (150)
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