Exit West

Exit West

Mohsin Hamid

“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”– Tom Stoppard

A book about immigration. Nativism. Globalization. War. Terrorism. Extremism. Love… And I read about all this in a single afternoon, which didn’t seem right. These things are complex and should sprawl page upon infinite page.

But, Mohsin Hamid was able to cover all these themes in a mere 229 pages. That’s all Mr Hamid? Surely you’d need more?

Saeed and Nadia live in an unnamed Middle Eastern city that becomes a war zone not unlike Aleppo, Syria. They have jobs and lives and Saeed has a mother and father he loves. Nadia has independence, which she loves. They find each other and form a strong bond. Saeed falls in love, Nadia isn’t sure. They are intimate, but don’t have sex because Saeed wants to wait until they’re married. Unfortunately, life, and war gets in the way of their budding relationship. The city falls to the militants, and they know they have to escape.

There are rumors of doors. Doors to other parts of the world. If you can find one of these doors you can escape.

I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say that Saeed and Nadia find a door, and escape their city. In fact this happens on about page 100. The rest of the book follows Saeed and Nadia as they enter and exit places that greet them as immigrants.

At times apocalyptic, ultimately there was a sense of hope. A hope for a future without borders and walls. A hope for a world where we are all people, and that’s enough.

[{There was a wonderful quote about the apocalypse happening, but the world not ending, just remaking itself, but I didn’t mark the quote, and can’t find it, so just imagine I did, and that’s how I ended this review}]

If you could walk through a door and go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

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