The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Expatriates

Plot Summary Part 1

Most of this book takes place in Hong Kong except the part where Margaret loses her child, which takes place in South Korea. Margaret, Hilary, and Mercy are expatriates living in Hong Kong. All are Americans, though Mercy is also kind of Koreanish.

Margaret hires Mercy as a nanny for a vacation trip to South Korea. Unfortunately, Margaret realizes too late that Mercy is a retard and no good at looking after children. Margaret has three kids, Daisy (not stolen),  Philip (not stolen) , and G (soon to be stolen). That's right, she has a child named G. She never gave him a real name. It's as if she knew he would be stolen so didn't see the need to give him a real name. There's no explanation why she chose G, or not F or H.

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Margaret recalls giving birth to her child Daisy. She remembers how hard it was to push Daisy out of her v_gina. After giving birth her breasts were "big and alternately baggy or rock hard, leaky and messy. The soft, shifting flesh of her belly being squished into her jeans and marked with angry red splotches where the buttons pressed." At times Margaret's nipples would bleed like it was a horror film. Heh heh heh heh.

What relevance does this have to the plot? None. But as you will discover, there is very, very little plot, so I thought I would try to entertain you at least a little.

While on a vacation in South Korea Margaret decides to go to a public bathroom and leave Mercy to watch the kids. Big mistake!

When she comes out G is gone. They can't find him. Margaret screams and makes a big scene, and Koreans stare at her like she is some kind of funny animal.

They go to the police, but G is never found. Hey, maybe G stands for Gone!

Meanwhile, a woman named Hilary in Hong Kong is trying to get pregnant. Her husband David is boning her so frequently that sperm is coming out of her ears. But Hilary can't get knocked up. Maybe David is using the wrong hole.

So Hilary rents an orphan named Julian. That's right she rents him. The orphanage doesn't like that--you're supposed to adopt kids. But Hilary isn't sure she wants to adopt Julian, and just borrows him from time to time like a library book. Hilary spends the entire book deciding whether she wants to adopt Julian. Finally, at the end of the book, she decides to adopt Julian. There, I've just told you Hilary's entire plot line. Nothing happens. See?

Mercy goes back to Hong Kong after losing Margaret's G. Maybe G stands for G spot, heh heh. Mercy is very depressed through much of the book for losing G. She compensates by getting drunk a lot and having sex with random men.

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