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The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee
  

The Expatriates

Literary Fiction   Books of the Month   Family Drama   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   
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One of our Books of the Year 2016.

February 2016 Book of the Month.

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. Margaret, Mercy and Hilary are three expatriate women learning to survive heartache in a different and sometimes difficult world. Three distinct lives, at first separate, step closer to each other, then the links between the three women tighten, almost to choking point. Janice Y. K. Lee writes with an exquisite, startling intensity, she provokes thoughts and feelings into exploring identity, grief and a fluttering of possibilities. Hong Kong is breathtaking, with the mix of East and West acting as a vibrant backdrop to the intimate story of these women. 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. ~ Liz Robinson

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Judith Smith - 'A beautiful and deeply moving story that can't be put down until the last page is turned.'
  • Emma Halford - 'Brilliantly interwoven tale of the lives of three women in the expat bubble of Hong Kong.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'Intriguing and very enjoyable, this is a book to add to your TBR list!'
  • Annette Woolfson - 'At last, a book to get totally immersed in! This story of how three women’s lives become entangled in the constraints of ex-pat life in Hong Kong really captured my imagination from the start.'
  • Sara McLaughlin - 'In this touching novel the author skilfully weaves together the stories of three women as they learn to adjust after their lives are changed unexpectedly.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Hauntingly honest reading and totally unique to anything I have ever read.  It forces the reader to consider the consequences not of the victim but those left behind. Loved it.'
  • Mollie Mayson-Simpson - 'This book fascinated me at first sight.'
  • Jane Gilman - 'Unfortunately I did not find this novel an interesting read.'
  • Sarah Tilley - 'An interesting and engrossing read'
  • Julie Collins - 'The Expatriates is a moving tale about three women in Hong Kong: what took them there and what keeps them there and most importantly how on this tiny island everything is public, including pain.'
  • Caroline Mathews - 'An enjoyable read, the story of three very different expat women whose lives intersect, set in modern day Hong Kong.'

Synopsis

The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee

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.

Reviews

'Lee tells two engrossing love stories... Just hide your phone before cracking this one open-or risk calling your ex' Marie Claire on The Piano Teacher

'Lee delivers a standout debut [with] layers of intrigue and more than a few unexpected twists' Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Piano Teacher

'Lee unfolds the story with the brisk grace and discretion of the society she describes' New Yorker on The Piano Teacher

About the Author

Janice Y. K. Lee

Janice Y.K. Lee was born in Hong Kong to Korean parents and lived there until she was fifteen. After graduating from Harvard University with a degree in English and American Literature and Language, she worked at Elle and Mirabella magazines in New York. She wrote The Piano Teacher after completing an MFA, and in between having four children. She lives in Hong Kong with her family. The Expatriates is her second novel.

Author photo © Xue Tan

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Book Info

Publication date

12th January 2016

Author

Janice Y. K. Lee

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Author's Website

janiceyklee.com/

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Publisher

Little, Brown an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group

Format

Hardback
336 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Family Drama
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781408706855

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