Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid, was a recommended on a couple Podcasts that I listen to about literature. With two raving reviews from the podcast hosts, I figured I’d give it a try.
The book starts off in an unnamed Muslim majority country that is on the edge of a civil war. You are introduced to the two main characters Saheed and Nadia whom meet and fall in love. As their country’s future is in peril, along with their safety, they discover that there are doors that are magic portals that transport refugees to places in crisis to one of which is seemingly more stable. Along with many other refugees, Saheed and Nadia start to migrate which puts a large strain on their relationship.
This novel investigates the large themes and feelings that belong when you migrate. Loss of control, unmet expectations, and a true sense of belonging to a physical place are just a few of the themes that stood out. Not only is belonging somewhere new hard, but also returning home after it has changed quite possibly harder. The big question really is where do I belong?
Very obviously this book is about migration, and the struggles that are in it. But it is also a love story between two people who respond differently to making a home in a new place.
All in all, I liked this book the more I think about it. The big themes, and love story are what appealed to me initially. It is quite fast paced, and easy enough to get through, but it seemed to lack a character I could root for. It is a truly beautifully written story, and extremely relevant to the current issues in the world.
Definitely give this a book a go, and let me know what you think about it.
Currently I am reading Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series, The Long Way Home. So stay tuned for my thoughts on it. These books are amazing! So much so, that I only allow myself one a month, because I want them to last FOREVER. And, wait for it… there’s a new one coming out at the end of August! Yay!!