Exit West is a novel that tells the story of Saeed and Nadia, who fall in love as their country is on the brink of civil war. They discover magic doors that can transport them to different countries and decide to leave their home to start a new life together. The novel explores themes of migration, mortality, love and connection, borders, division, fear, religion, and escape.
Through showcasing minor characters with the freedom to migrate instantaneously through doors, the novel posits that people immigrate to other countries to find possibility, which often takes different forms.
The characters in the novel all search for new possibilities, which can mean safety, opportunity, or just finding a kindred spirit. The novel also portrays mortality as both tragic and extremely natural, emphasizing life’s fragility and unpredictability.
Exit West questions what it means to belong somewhere and suggests that country of origin plays only a small role in a rapidly globalizing world. The novel concludes with a scene at a café in the hometown they once fled, where Saeed and Nadia, both old, navigate two lives and reflect on how different life would be if they had made different choices.
What I Liked
I will read anything Mohsin Hamid puts out. He is one of my (if not my) favorite novelist ever. Read all his books.
What I Did Not Like
Nothing – great read.