The Expatriates

The Expatriates

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
7
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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.
Publisher: London : Little, Brown, 2016.
Branch Call Number: ADVENTURE
Characteristics: 332 p. ;,25 cm.

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From Library Staff

List - Best Reads 2016
robertafsmith Jan 16, 2016

Every possible combination of fertility/non-fertility/unwanted fertility and - the heartbreaking actual loss of a child is explored through the lives of three Expats living in Hong Kong. I felt the tensions, I became immersed in that great city. Finely observed. Staff Pickles

Roberta's Pick: Every possible combination of fertility/non-fertility/unwanted fertility and - the heartbreaking actual loss of a child is eplored through the lives of three Expats living in Hong Kong. I felt the tensions, I became immersed in that great city. Finely observed. Staff Pickles


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1
1_Great_Book
Aug 12, 2016

Having lived as an expat almost all of my adult life, the context rings true no matter in which country you are living.

The groupies are the same: the short termers who are more on holiday and insist on their home comforts, the long termers who don't really fit in in either country anymore and aren't completely at ease, the ones who embrace, assimilate and adopt the country and natives as their own, even settling in by marrying and gaining permanent residency and even citizenship.... and whether they make up the centre nucleus of a small, buzzing central community network or elect to navigate an elliptical, satellite path around its edges - it's all there.

Finding one's own path, what is comfortable, adapting as events and careers evolve, the need for family and what lengths we will go to to preserve those relationships - all these themes are reflected in this story.

Thoroughly enjoyed. You don't have to know anything about Hong Kong to get what this expat story is all about.

p
p_lenssen
Jun 23, 2016

Quite depressing, but well written.

s
santiano9
May 03, 2016

Not great literature and not pretending to be. A great read though with interesting characters and a setting I know little about.

b
brangwinn
Mar 29, 2016

This book was perfect for a plane trip. It had depth and it was long enough to be satisfying. For those of us who have yearned to live in a culture unlike our own without regards to the cost of things, this book was very satisfying. Yee takes a look, a fairly complete look, at the lives of three different American women who moved to Hong Kong when their husbands were sent there to work. The American community is fairly small and when you socialize with the same people over and over lives will intersect. What Yee has done so well is to show each woman as an individual with individual needs and desires. I also have to admit I’m a sucker for stories which end well. Yee gave me 4 hours of escape reading, much nicer than listening to my neighbors in the crowded plane.

The in-depth portrayals of characters is superb. They become your friends, your neighbors, your family. Lee is an incredible talent!

c
coroboreefarm
Feb 08, 2016

An excellent story of three dissimilar women whose lives interconnect within the expat American community in Hong Kong. Janice Y. K. Lee richly details a world of wealth and privilege played out in an endless round of lunches, and dinners, shopping and holidays. Emotional and at times heartbreaking, this tale of individual challenges and choices is a memorable read.

b
bibliovore
Jan 27, 2016

This absorbing novel touches on family, motherhood, identity and what it means to experience loss. I devoured this book in just a few sittings - highly recommended!

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