Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Published by: Riverhead March 2nd, 2017
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Magical Realism
Source: Borrowed from the library
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
Review: I think this was the first time I had ever read a book that was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize. At just 231 pages it took me a little longer to read. It felt like a longer novel to which I think has to do with the content that it contains. Hamid’s writing is great and quite descriptive (but not in an annoying way). It deals with the subject matter of immigration and really opens your eyes to the ordeals individuals go to when they migrate to another country and the refugee vs. “Native” aspect.
I did not feel a connection to any of the characters but I found it interesting getting into the minds of both of the characters and see how they were feeling towards each other. Their relationship was new when the war became too dangerous in their home country causing them to flee through different doors. You can see the strain that that has on their relationship and their actions. That felt very realisitic to me.
The novel is mainly centered with Saed and Nadia however, there are random paragraphs throughout that deal with characters that you know nothing about and will never read about again which is confusing.
I thought it was a really well written book but I didn’t find it as amazing as everyone is saying.