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The Expatriates

by Janice Y. K. Lee

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Family Drama Modern and Classic Literary Fiction Relationship Stories

LoveReading View on The Expatriates

One of our Books of the Year 2016.

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

Liz Robinson

The Expatriates Synopsis

I raced through this enthralling story' Liane Moriarty 'Brilliantly plotted and written, utterly absorbing' Daily Mail 'An emotionally gripping page-turner' Elle Mercy, a young Korean American and recent Columbia graduate, is adrift, undone by a terrible incident in her recent past. Hilary, a wealthy housewife, is haunted by her struggle to have a child, something she believes could save her foundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, once a happily married mother of three, questions her identity in the wake of a shattering loss. As each woman struggles with her own demons, their lives collide in ways that have irreversible consequences for them all. The Expatriates is an atmospheric, moving, and utterly compelling story of motherhood and family set against the unforgettable backdrop of Hong Kong.

The Expatriates 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.'

The Expatriates Press Reviews

'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

'Brilliantly plotted and written, utterly absorbing, often heartbreaking, The Expatriates looks set to be one of the books of the year' Daily Mail

'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

'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

'Beautiful and heartbreaking Hello An emotionally gripping page-turner' Elle

'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

'Gorgeously wrought' Marie Claire

'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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780349141169
Publication date: 09/02/2017
Publisher: Abacus an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781408706855
Publication date: 12/01/2016
Publisher: Little, Brown an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780349141169
Publication date: 9th February 2017
Author: Janice Y. K. Lee
Publisher: Abacus an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 432 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About 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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