1. SPOILER ALERT: DON’T READ AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED THE NOVEL
2. Have you ever lived outside your native country for an extended period of time? If so, how did your experience compare with Lee’s description?
3. Would you be interested in living the expatriate life in Hong Kong? What about it appeals to you? What aspects would you find difficult to accept?
4. Do you think Margaret is a good mother? Why or why not?
5. Is Mercy solely to blame for what happened in Seoul? Is she as unlucky as she believes herself to be?
6. Does Margaret initially feel a connection to Mercy because she herself is a quarter Korean? When we are in an unfamiliar environment, do we naturally gravitate toward those most similar to ourselves?
7. Is Charlie a missed opportunity for Mercy or would the relationship not have worked out anyway, given Mercy’s luck?
8. Did your opinion of Mercy change over the course of the novel? Why or why not?
9. What is your take on the anonymous discussion-board post describing Hilary’s initial relationship with Julian as similar to “trying on a coat”?
10. Overall, do social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, and message boards such as the one Hilary haunts make people more or less connected with their fellow human beings? What are their pluses and minuses?
11. Did David ultimately help Hilary to overcome her indecision about adopting Julian? What do you think David will do at the end of the book? Will he be a happier person?
12. Would a child have healed David and Hilary’s marriage or was the rift between them already too great?
13. If you are a mother, do you feel that having a child is a transformative experience? Can a woman who’s not a mother understand the depth of Margaret’s loss?
14. What aspect of The Expatriates most resonated with you? Why?
15. Where do you see each of these three women in five years?