Three American women–Mercy, Margaret, and Hilary–find themselves in Hong Kong, and though their circumstances differ, their paths cross fatefully in the small, privileged world of expats. A year before the novel begins, a tragedy tore that privileged world apart. How these women deal with grief, guilt, and forgiveness is at the heart of The Expatriates–and motherhood, in various forms, is key.
What Lee does most ably in this novel is give sharp edges and unflattering brightness to the exotic, romantic idea of moving abroad for work. The women who follow their husbands to Hong Kong–the wealthy population Lee examines–are cosseted and lucky in many ways, with ample help and days free for lunching and shopping. But beneath the veneer of money and ease is the search for self and meaning in a place that is unfamiliar, among new friends as impermanent and transitory as those made in a college dorm. The interweaving stories of the three women in The Expatriates play out against this uneasy background, and the unsettling plot is made more so by the understanding that these women’s heartbreaking dramas will fade, finally, as other expats arrive and other stories take their place.
|Author||Janice Y.K. Lee|
|Page Count||336 pages|
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