Read the Gripping Book Behind Expats

Read the Gripping Book Behind Expats

preview for A Look Back At Nicole Kidman’s Iconic Career

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FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS of Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers and The Undoing, Nicole Kidman is now starring in another prestige drama series based on a bestselling novel. This time around, however, she is taking a step away from the thriller genre to tell a more restrained, at-times uncomfortable story about a woman who finds her entire life spiralling out of control.

Expats follows Margaret (Kidman), a wife and mother who left her career in the States so that her husband could pursue his career in Hong Kong. The series explores the world of privileged Americans living in the upper echelons of the highly stratified city-state, which also includes Margaret’s new friend Hilary (Sarayu Blue), whose seemingly perfect marriage to David (Jack Huston) is beginning to show strain, and Mercy (Ji-young Choo), a Columbia graduate who has come to Hong Kong to escape her controlling mother.

The lives of these three women become entwined, and the show flits back and forth in timelines set before and after a fateful accident which leaves Margaret reeling. Expats is set in 2014, and the intimate human drama of Margaret, Hilary and Mercy takes place against the backdrop of that summer’s social unrest and political protests against China’s tightening grip over Hong Kong.

expats, nicole kidman

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Expats was created by Lulu Wang, best known for her 2019 comedy-drama The Farewell. While The Farewell was based on very personal events in Wang’s own life, the inspiration for this new series came from author Janice Y. K. Lee.

Penguin Books The Expatriates: A Novel

The Expatriates: A Novel

Penguin Books The Expatriates: A Novel

Expats is based on The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee.

Expats features narration from Mercy, but the original novel—which has the lengthier, more literary title The Expatriatesis also told from the perspectives of Margaret and Hilary, illustrating the stark differences between the cushy lives of the wealthy expats and the experiences of their in-house help.

In a New York Times review, Maggie Pouncey described The Expatriates as a “vibrant social satire” and praised Lee’s shrewd skewering of “the nuance and clash of culture, class, race and sex.”

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Philip Ellis

Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.


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