|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
By Chris Pavone
In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to reveal important aspects of the plot of this novel. If you have not finished reading The Expats, we respectfully suggest that you wait before reviewing this guide.
Hailed by Patricia Cornwell as “bristling with suspense” and praised by John Grisham as reminiscent of early novels by Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, and Robert Ludlum, The Expats garnered coast-to-coast acclaim, marking the debut of an unforgettable new voice in American fiction.
An international thriller, The Expats is the story of a seemingly ordinary working mom, Kate Moore, whose husband, Dexter, is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg—a move that will unravel everything they believed about each other. Kate and Dexter have struggled to make ends meet, so they jump at the chance to start a new life abroad with the promise of rich rewards. But Kate has been leading a double life, and leaving America forces her to abandon her dangerous but heroic job. She soon discovers that it will be harder than she thought to shed her past, especially while coping with the weight of an unbearable secret. Dexter seems to be keeping secrets of his own, working long hours for a banking client whose name he can’t reveal. When another American couple befriends them, Kate begins to peel back the layers of deception that surround her, revealing a heart-stopping con that threatens her family, her marriage, and her life.
Sophisticated and expertly crafted, The Expats is set in some of Europe’s most enchanting locales, and races toward a provocative, startling conclusion. We hope this guide will enhance your experience of the pulse-pounding journey.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. How does Kate’s sense of self shift throughout the novel? In the end, how does she reconcile the roles of wife, mom, and adrenaline-seeking agent?
2. In chapter ten, on page ninety-three, Kate thinks about crossing an unspoken line that exists in many marriages: “You know the lines are there, you feel them: the things you don’t discuss. . . . You go about your business, as far away from these lines as possible, pretending they’re not there.” To what degree did Kate and Dexter deceive themselves, as much as they deceived each other? Is complete honesty realistic for most married couples?
3. After working hard to keep her own career a secret from Dexter, why is it hard for Kate to accept his secrecy about his job? Was she setting a double standard or just responding to her well-honed instincts?
4. What were your initial theories about Julia and Bill, and the “Today” scenes?
5. Kate was well suited to her job when she led a solitary life. What did the CIA give her in lieu of love? As she realizes that Dexter and her family are all she has, how does her understanding of love change?
6. What is Hayden’s role in Kate’s life? Do you have a Hayden to rely on?
7. How do Kate and Dexter feel about the power of breadwinners in a marriage? What does their story say about resenting a spouse who doesn’t seem to be contributing (Dexter in America) versus resenting a spouse who seems to be a workaholic (Dexter in Luxembourg)? In the end, which of the novel’s characters prove to be the most materialistic?
8. Kate is haunted by the Torres episode. How did this continue to define her decision making and actions years later? If you were ever in a situation like this, how far would you go to protect your family?
9. Dexter often cites human gullibility as a weakness in I.T. security. Discuss the characters who let their guard down for love, vanity, sex, wealth, or other lures. What ultimately makes Dexter gullible? Does his gullibility make him blameless?
10. As the plot began to unfold, which revelations surprised you the most? What truth was buried beneath the layers of deception?
11. The Expats delivers a highly realistic portrayal of female agents, motherhood, and strong women who outsmart men. What is the effect of knowing that the book was written by a man?
12. Does it matter that the Colonel was bloodthirsty? Do the ends justify the means?
13. What does the novel say about trust and how it is earned? What do Kate and Dexter discover about the strength of their trust for each other?
14. Discuss the life of expatriates in general—a role the author experienced when his wife accepted a job in Luxembourg. If you were to live abroad, where would you want to set up housekeeping? How do expats balance the fact that they’re foreigners with the need to feel at home? Would you enjoy close-knit communities of expat spouses, or would the lack of privacy be hard to handle?
Unusual twists and turns, very interesting plot and extremely well written.
The scenic descriptions were very detailed, however at times I thought they were a little too much and detracted from the plot of the story.
It kept my attention throughout and was very suspenseful, keeping you guessing till the end.
One plot inside a plot inside a plot. A naivete CIA, really ? that stupid husband, really ? I know it is fiction but I'd prefer a little more common sense.Published 2 days ago by ev
I really loved the book and will be looking for more by this author.Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
Just by reading the descriptions and praise on the cover of this book, I was pretty excited about reading this one. But in reality, when I started reading, I was not impressed. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Britni @ Homeschoolin' Mommy Chronicles
The story is continually jumping back and forth in time, which becomes terribly disconcerting in very short order. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great story with technical twists and turns that are well written, plus wonderful descriptions of expatriate life in Europe. It made you feel like you were living there.Published 29 days ago by Bruce W. Hayden
Kate Moore and her family moved to Luxemburg for he husband, Dexter's job. Her life in Luxemburg started off good, playdates and coffee shops. Read morePublished 1 month ago by judge_prime