THE EXPATS

Chris Pavone

Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage . . . and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew.

She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, finding her way in a language she doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done—playdates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and never-ending laundry. Meanwhile, her husband works incessantly, at a job Kate has never understood,

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Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage . . . and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew.

She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, finding her way in a language she doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done—playdates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and never-ending laundry. Meanwhile, her husband works incessantly, at a job Kate has never understood, for a banking client she’s not allowed to know. He’s becoming distant and evasive; she’s getting lonely and bored.

Then another American couple arrives. Kate soon becomes suspicious that these people are not who they say they are, and she’s terrified that her own past is catching up to her. So Kate begins to dig, to peel back the layers of deception that surround her. She discovers fake offices and shell corporations and a hidden gun, a mysterious farmhouse and numbered accounts with bewildering sums of money, and finally unravels the mind-boggling long-play con that threatens her family, her marriage, and her life.

Stylish and sophisticated, fiercely intelligent and expertly crafted, The Expats proves Chris Pavone to be a writer of tremendous talent.

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  • Broadway
  • Paperback
  • January 2013
  • 352 Pages
  • 9780770435721

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About Chris Pavone

Chris Pavone grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Cornell. For nearly two decades he was a book editor and ghostwriter; he is also the author of The Wine Log. Chris and his family have lived in Luxembourg, but recently returned to New York City. The Expats is his first novel.

Praise

“Sly. . . . Pavone strengthens this book with a string of head-spinning revelations in its last pages. . . . The tireless scheming of all four principals truly exceeds all sane expectations.”The New York Times

“Bombshell-a-minute. . . . Pavone creates a fascinating, complicated hero.”Entertainment Weekly

“A gripping spy drama and an artful study of the sometimes cat-and-mouse game of marriage.”Family Circle

“Smartly executed. . . . Pavone is full of sharp insights into the parallels between political espionage and marital duplicity. . . . Thoroughly captivating.”The New York Times Book Review

Discussion Questions

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?

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?

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?

What were your initial theories about Julia and Bill, and the “Today” scenes?

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?

What is Hayden’s role in Kate’s life? Do you have a Hayden to rely on?

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?

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?

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?

As the plot began to unfold, which revelations surprised you the most? What truth was buried beneath the layers of deception?

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?

Does it matter that the Colonel was bloodthirsty? Do the ends justify the means?

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?

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?