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The Expatriates: A Novel av Janice Y. K. Lee
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The Expatriates: A Novel (urspr publ 2016; utgåvan 2016)

av Janice Y. K. Lee (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3702951,719 (3.59)7
Three very different American women livie in the same small expat community in Hong Kong. Mercy, a young Korean American and recent Columbia graduate, is adrift, undone by a terrible incident in her recent past. Hilary, a wealthy housewife, is haunted by her struggle to have a child, something she believes could save her foundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, once a happily married mother of three, questions her maternal identity in the wake of a shattering loss. Their lives collide in ways that have irreversible consequences for them all.… (mer)
Medlem:bonniev
Titel:The Expatriates: A Novel
Författare:Janice Y. K. Lee (Författare)
Info:Viking (2016), 336 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:***1/2
Taggar:Hong Kong, kidnapping, family relationships, social life in exile

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The Expatriates av Janice Y. K. Lee (2016)

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Visa 1-5 av 29 (nästa | visa alla)
4.5. I really enjoyed this book and the lives of Mercy, Hilary and Margaret. I love how she wove them together with Hong Kong in the background and I loved the ending of this book. ( )
  sunshine608 | Feb 2, 2021 |
2.5 stars ( )
  snakes6 | Aug 25, 2020 |
I quite enjoyed this look at three expatriate American women in Hong Kong. Margaret, a trailing wife (so called because she's trailed behind Clarke, her husband who is working there) with their three children. Hilary, an independently wealthy trailing wife of David, a corporate attorney. Mercy is the third woman, a single twenty-something Columbia grad who has been aimless and continues to be hapless on the periphery of this group. Their lives were intertwined well and while I often was frustrated with them, I still found them all interesting to read about. I won't give spoilers here because they're worth reading but I do have to say that one character's lack of an actual name did niggle at me and threw me out of the story each time I came across it. There was never any explanation given for this circumstance so I didn't know if the character really had that as a name as no one else did or if the author had done it for a specific reason or if there was some sort of cultural hint I was missing that the reference was done as a nod too.

It was a lot more sad than I'd expected and I have to say that I wholly disagree with a blurb I'd read that mentioned it was funny. The epilogue was totally saccharine but but I really didn't need that for a satisfying end, in fact, it diminished the story a bit for me. Sometimes you need just to skip epilogues. I definitely recommend reading this one. ( )
  anissaannalise | Feb 28, 2018 |
Mixed feelings but terrible ending. Lee's second book revolves around three women. Margaret, a mom with three children and who is rich enough to have a maid and not work. Her youngest child, G, disappears (this isn't really spoilery since it's a key driver of the plot) while on a trip to South Korea. Margaret and her family must cope with the fall-out.
 
Mercy is a young, twenty-something who is lost. Doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, did not find roots after going to Columbia University in New York. So now she is in Hong Kong for...what? To find a new life? To get a job? To find herself?
 
Meanwhile, Hilary is a woman who followed her husband to Hong Kong and has been trying to get pregnant for years. After so many years of trying her marriage is fraying. Hilary finds consolation in looking after an orphan by paying for his piano lessons. As her marriage deteriorates further, Hilary considers adopting the orphan.
 
Lee rotates between these three women as their lives come together in terrible and sad ways. Normally I hate more than one POV but Lee made it work and even did it better than in her previous book 'The Piano Teacher'. Occasionally it devolved into cliffhanger clichés but I mostly felt compelled to read on and thought it worked for the story she was trying to write.
 
That said, overall I was disappointed in this effort. The story is mostly chick-litish with affairs, a woman trying to get pregnant, a woman trying to find herself, and looking at the uber-rich set of Hong Kong. In some ways I thought of Kevin Kwan's 'Crazy Rich Asians' although this is specifically about the expatriate set.
 
At the same time, I also felt that was a bit of a detriment. Other than occasional mentions, I never really felt like I was in Hong Kong. Tweak a few pieces here and there and you could easily be New York or London or some other similar enclave with a bunch of rich people who don't know what to do with themselves and some of the other people they meet. I thought Lee did a great job with the WWII (and the post period) Hong Kong in her last book but I didn't get that same atmosphere here. Maybe it has to do with the modern setting. OR the perhaps lack of distinction was to show that rich people can be the same wherever you go.
 
I also thought the ending was very jarring for the book. In some ways it wasn't a surprise, but given the darkness of the plot (Margaret's young child G goes missing) I didn't think the ending fit at all. (For some reason G's name is never revealed but Margaret's other children are named, which made no sense to me.) If anything G reminded me of Madeleine McCann's story, which currently has no ending. I realize that part of my preferences is not reading bad things happening to children but this ending really doesn't address that part of the story much and I found it very trite and eye-rolling.
 
There are also various plot threads that are also brought up but never go anywhere (Margaret's husband and troubles with their two other children).
 
I remember not liking the ending for Lee's 'Piano' either so maybe it's just a trend with me. I didn't mind reading this but I'm glad I borrowed it from the library. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
The Expatriates follows three American women, Mercy, Margaret, and Hilary, who live in an insulated social circle in Hong Kong. Mercy is a young Korean-American woman who has been trying to make a
new start in Hong Kong for three years. She is having trouble finding a steady job and knows that she's always been “unlucky.” Margaret is a rich housewife whose life revolves around her kids, her husband, and a small number of friends. When we meet Mercy and Margaret we know they are connected by something tragic, but we don't know what it is. In Part Two we meet Hilary. Hilary and her husband, David, have been in Hong Kong for eight years, and she has been trying to become pregnant ever since their arrival. Her relationship with David is mostly indifferent, but she's hoping an adopted child will help.

Their individual and connecting stories are told by all three women in alternating chapters. Even though they are all on different paths and dealing with different crises, they suffer a similar hopelessness and loneliness. One of the best parts of the book is watching the lives of Mercy, Margaret and Hilary converge and change. I thought the characters were imperfect in a realistic way. I didn't like everything about the women but I felt their stories were interesting and the resolution was satisfying. I've never read the author's debut novel, the Piano Teacher, but I've now added it to my TBR.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
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Prologue: The new expatriates arrive practically on the hour, every day of the week.
Chapter One: A slow-roasted unicorn.
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Three very different American women livie in the same small expat community in Hong Kong. Mercy, a young Korean American and recent Columbia graduate, is adrift, undone by a terrible incident in her recent past. Hilary, a wealthy housewife, is haunted by her struggle to have a child, something she believes could save her foundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, once a happily married mother of three, questions her maternal identity in the wake of a shattering loss. Their lives collide in ways that have irreversible consequences for them all.

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