Book Review

February '16

The Expatriates (Hardcover)
Janice Y.K. Lee

This is a terrific read!

Author Janice Lee was born in Hong Kong, and takes us there for an insider's view into the expatriate experience, particularly that of wives who follow their husbands abroad for his job.  Lee has a very compelling writing style that makes you feel as if you are there, steeped in the contemporary culture of Hong Kong.  She also excels at characterization, and you will know her characters well.

The reader follows three women, Mercy, Margaret and Hilary through Hong Kong as they get used to a life vastly different from life stateside.  In Hong Kong, it's nearly impossible for them to find work, and inexpensive and readily available domestic help gives the ladies very little to do, other than socialize and worry about their children and husbands.  Mercy is young, Korean-American, and a recent graduate from Columbia in New York.  Hilary is struggling to have a child, which she thinks will save her marriage.  Margaret had three children, and has suffered a terrible loss.  Each woman has secrets, and as the book progresses, their stories overlap and intertwine in most interesting ways.  A huge birthday party for one of their husbands culminates the book, and so very much goes on that night!

Janice Lee's previous book, The Piano Teacher was excellent, as is this new one.  The Expatriates was published 1/12/16, and I would recommend it as a well written page turning book, and great for book clubs.