Pamela's Reviews > The Expats

The Expats by Chris Pavone
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really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads

I received this book as a Firstreads novel and I'm so glad I was given the opportunity to read it. As an Expat myself, I was especially intrigued by the parallels I could draw with the author having myself spent 2 years in the Netherlands. The descriptions of Amsterdam and the Dutch were spot-on! Down to the minutest detail...it was neat to read that the author's first impressions of the canals, the cobblestoned streets, the parking procedures...equalled ours. To quote a paragraph from the book:

"The canals of Amsterdam shimmered in the cold night, the water forming a rippling blanket of pinpoints of light, reflections from the streetlamps, restaurants, bars, houses. All the houses' blinds were undrawn, curtains open, people sitting in their living and dining rooms, reading the newspaper or drinking a glass of wine, family gathered around the dinner table, children watching television, all if it on display to neighbors, to strangers, to the world."

BRAVO! I couldn't have described it better myself. Not to mention, when our friends ask us about what was noteworthy about living in the Netherlands we usually reply, "It's like living in the land of 6 ft. blond-haired, blue-eyed giants who all own and ride a bike, smoke fags, and never draw their bay window curtains in the evenings...it was like living in a fish bowl!" I swear, we were the only ones who drew our curtains once dusk came in the evening.

Right off, the author begins to weave a story that will slowly unravel as it is being knit. We are introduced to Kate and Dexter who are preparing to make a transfer to Luxembourg due to Dexter's employer. Little do we know at that time of the double lives both Kate and Dexter are living...and the secrets they each are hiding from each other. As the story unfolds, look out...you just might slide off your seat! WONDERFUL suspense, mystery and intrigue that will leave your brain thinking about the WHO dun it's and the WHO'S involved....and STILL...the ending will leave you gasping in surprise! I thought I had it all figured out until the very last pages and then....Oh MY GOSH!

I loved to read about Kate's difficulty adjusting to the routines of living in a new country and being the Expat. The language difference, the difficulty finding and then relying on new friends who on any normal day you wouldn't EVER hang out with, the day to day monotony of finding your way around a new city and culture, having a husband working long and torturous hours while YOU are spending hours alone "handling" the household affairs including the moving and unpacking and decorating and putting together of the IKEA furniture that replaces the rentals you have while waiting for your shipment to arrive....then the moving and unpacking and decorating and putting together all of your stuff from the shipment. All of this ALONE...while at the same time discovering you really are handy with the screwdriver and that book of directions for the bureau you just built is your badge of honor for the day. PHEW! Now, lets add 2 rambunctious boys to that busy mother and you have Kate...who like most of us Expat wives and mothers, now newly joined the "club" pulls on the bootstraps of her new life and struggles to make sense of her SELF, her MARRIAGE, her LIFE in another country.

Add to that impossible mix the fact that Kate is an ex-CIA operative with a past that still haunts her...and you have one exciting, riveting, thriller of a story which will not disappoint you in the ending.

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Reading Progress

February 14, 2012 – Shelved
February 17, 2012 – Shelved as: first-reads
March 19, 2012 – Started Reading
March 24, 2012 –
page 115
35.28% "gripping....so far so good."
March 26, 2012 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Thanks


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