cover image The Expatriates

The Expatriates

Janice Y.K. Lee. Viking, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-42947-0

After her successful debut novel, The Piano Teacher, Lee returns with a captivating book about three American women living in an expatriate community in Hong Kong. She explores their experiences with love, loss, and uncertainty about the future and the unexpected ways their lives intersect. Mercy, a recent Columbia graduate who relocated from New York to Hong Kong in search of new opportunities, struggles to move forward after her involvement in a disturbing incident. Margaret, who used to have a life that other people envied, with a happy marriage and three children, finds herself searching for a new identity after her family is shaken by a loss. And Hilary, a wealthy housewife wishing for a child and toying with the idea of adoption, feels stalled by indecision and a troubled marriage. Their international community, described vividly in this atmospheric narrative, is insular. That these women occupy different spaces in this world of privilege does not prevent them from altering one another’s lives. Lee’s women are complex and often flawed, which makes the stories of their strength all the more compelling in this tale of family, motherhood, and attempts at moving on. (Jan.)