In the stunning follow-up to her acclaimed first novel, Janice Lee delves into the lives of three very different women living in the intimate expatriate community of Hong Kong in this transporting novel about motherhood, marriage, and the elusive nature of happiness. Mercy, a young Korean-American and recent Columbia University graduate, is adrift, undone after a terrible incident in her recent past. Hilary, a lonely, 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, takes every opportunity to escape from her life in the wake of a shattering loss. As each woman struggles with her own demons, their lives collide in ways that have irreversible consequences for them all.

Atmospheric, moving, and utterly compelling, THE EXPATRIATES confirms Lee as an exceptional talent and one of our keenest observers of women's inner lives.


“Lee’s eye for the nuance and clash of culture, class, race and sex is subtle and shrewd... A female, funny Henry James in Asia.” –New York Times

“We found ourselves racing through this exotic, sexy, heartbreaking book simply because we couldn’t wait to find out what happens to each of the women.”


“Brilliantly plotted and written, utterly absorbing, often heartbreaking, THE EXPATRATES look set to be one of the books of the year.” –The Daily Mail

“Gorgeously wrought.. The first must-read of 2016.” –Marie Claire

“An emotionally gripping page-turner.” –Elle

“We imagine we know these [expatriate] women, who are distanced from their work, friends, and family, but we don’t. Janice Y.K. Lee does. Set in Hong Kong, THE EXPATRIATES looks inside the lives of three women…all in crisis, all needing one another in ways they, and we, can’t imagine.” –Vanity Fair

“A novel about displacement and belonging...A thoughtful portrait of motherhood trade-offs, the book also offers sharp insights into the tensions between moneyed expats and the impoverished locals who serve them.”

–People, “The Best New Books”

Set in Hong Kong during the outbreak of World War II, and its aftermath 10 years later, the story alternates between the lives of two vastly different women whose destinies are linked by the events of the war. In 1952, Claire is a provincial newlywed, recently arrived in the flourishing colony of Hong Kong. There, she quickly becomes involved with an enigmatic expatriate, whose visible and emotional injuries raise questions about his past. In 1941, Trudy Liang is a wealthy Eurasian society belle, who finds a kind of salvation in a newly arrived Englishman. For people without true homelands, the dark conflagration will test the limits of loyalty, identity and passion. And as the brutalities of war take their toll on the vulnerable and the brave, each player will learn the price of survival, even at the cost of love.

Braced with authentic, sensual detail and keen observations about a forgotten social order, this assured novel evokes the romantic sweep of THE ENGLISH PATIENT and the colonial drama of E.M. Forster.

A haunting new short story now available from Amazon, "Bush" tells a tale of the unsettled balance between a man and a woman…and an unbidden awakening in the wild:

Audrey and Max have been together only six months, not enough time for them to really know each other. Yet he’s brought her to an extraordinary place. The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a revelation. No towns, no roads. Just the wild—truly wild—expanse of heat and dust and nature all around. A place of life and death: elemental, immediate, primal, and unpredictable.

For Audrey, it’s like being at the beginning of the world, and at the end—with a wealthy man who will provide for her in every material way but may not know, or care, who she is. Fraught encounters with wild animals—and, worst of all, with Max—will force her to look at what she really wants and who she really is.