Thursday, April 14, 2016
"The Expatriates" by Janice Y.K. Lee
When I saw the description of "The Expatriates" on NetGalley, I knew this was a book for me. Intimate portrayals of three American women living abroad? Yes. Their stories intertwine? Even better.
Mercy, Margaret, and Hilary live in Hong Kong. Mercy floundered after graduating from college, and found herself pursuing work in Hong Kong when she was priced out of New York City. Margaret lives with her children and husband and is struggling to cope after tragedy besets their family while on a trip to Korea. Hilary moved to Hong Kong for her husband's job, and is feeling the weight and strain on their relationship of their inability to have children. In the surprisingly small Hong Kong expat community, these women interact and their lives become inextricably intertwined in unexpected ways.
Lee does a great job getting into the heads of these three women, drawing out their unique personalities that shape how they address the same concerns and challenges. With women at different stages in their lives, the reader sees different expat experiences that accompany different life stages. The novel offers a peek into a the world of Americans living abroad, and into the touching, heartbreaking private moments in the lives of these three women. The audio narration is also on point, bringing each of these characters to life.
Verdict: Affirmed, an enjoyable read, and a great pick for book clubs.
"The Expatriates" by Janice Y.K. Lee, published January 12, 2016 by Viking. Audio narration by Ann Marie Lee, published January 12, 2016 by Penguin Audio.