Book Review: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
“In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.
Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.”
This is a brilliant novel about the travels of refugees. You follow a couple who fall in love and together ate forced to leave their home. The writing is absolutely gorgeous. I hope you will, as I did, re-read some of the passages describing both their lives prior to emigrating and after emigrating. I found it particularly startling on how the modern conveniences, even a simple cell phone, can simply cease to have meaning so quickly. It forces you to comfort the real perils and emotional toll of both Saeed and Nadia. Could you leave? Who/what would you leave behind – this novel clearly captures the ugly side of these life-altering journeys and the scars on the people just trying to survive.
The humanization of the travels of migrants is, despite being fiction, an eye-opening look at the refugee side of emigration – one that is so often overlooked.
This is a must read – especially today as when human migration is such a frequent and, at times, contentious topic. The Best Book I have read this year!
5 stars from me! Go get your copy now!