Janice Y.K. Lee is wonderful at creating atmosphere in her books. Hong Kong is almost like an additional character in her books. Do you think she conveys what it is like to live there, to live among other expats? What do you think is the most distinctive thing about being of one culture but living in another? What form do the differences take? Additionally, Lee is known for her satiric eye in this book, how do you think she points out quirks in the expat culture? Did you find this amusing, or perhaps sad?
Class distinctions matter a great deal in The Expatriates. How is this demonstrated for Margaret, Mercy and Hilary?
Another central theme of the book is that of forgiveness. Do you think this is represented realistically? Do you believe that the three main characters could have all bonded despite their histories, or was that just artistic license? What did you think of the ending? Was it realistic? How would you have changed it, if you didn’t find it realistic?
Do you think the author was successful in creating a book that ultimately depicts the woman’s experience in the expat community?