Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee

I’m normally drawn to Non-Fiction; however, occasionally I will indulge in Fiction, especially if it explores family relationships or female friendships.  I also enjoy reading books that take place in other countries, because they give me a glimpse into cultures that are completely different from my own, and they fascinate me.

Although a story may take place in a faraway land, the human themes within still resonate with all cultures.  The Expatriates delves into the lives of three women:  Mercy, Margaret and Hilary.  Each woman is an expatriate from the United States, currently living in Hong Kong.  Mercy is a 27-year old who seems to be drifting aimlessly through life.  Margaret is a married mother who is slowly descending into deep sadness after a tragic accident alters her life.  Hilary is a married woman who is not quite sure if she is ready for a child; and wonders if her husband will ever be on board with her decision either way.

Each chapter of the book is told from one of the three main characters’ points of view.  As the story moves along, the reader has a feeling that the three women’s lives will be linked together somehow.  Even though the book did not surprise me with any “gotchas” or have me hanging onto the edge of my seat, the pace and the writing kept my interest throughout.

Although all three characters share feelings of sadness and/or emptiness at times, the story did not feel overly depressing.  Instead, I felt uplifted by their relationships.  The author demonstrates that sometimes relationships among women can be stronger and dearer than their relationships with men.  At the end of the story, each woman’s life isn’t necessarily tied up neatly in a happily-ever-after bow.  However, they have matured and seem to be facing their futures with more courage and peace because of each other.

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