FINALIST FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE & WINNER OF THE L.A. TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR FICTION and THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE
“It was as if Hamid knew what was going to happen to America and the world, and gave us a road map to our future… At once terrifying and … oddly hopeful.” —Ayelet Waldman, The New York Times Book Review
“Moving, audacious, and indelibly human.” —Entertainment Weekly, “A” rating
The New York Times bestselling novel: an astonishingly visionary love story that imagines the forces that drive ordinary people from their homes into the uncertain embrace of new lands, from the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and the forthcoming The Last White Man.
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 remarkable 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Exit West is a triumph of the imagination. The novel turns the current migrant crisis into a page-turning read that’s as beautiful and surprising as it is a gut punch. Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, makes you care deeply about his complex, flesh-and-blood protagonists, Nadia and Saeed. After their unnamed city descends into violence, the couple embark on a jaw-dropping journey. Every page of Hamid’s novel crackles with gorgeous prose, suspense, sparkling dialogue, and compassion.
Hamid's (The Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia) trim yet poignant fourth novel addresses similar themes as his previous work and presents a unique perspective on the global refugee crisis. In an unidentified country, young Saeed and burqa-wearing Nadia flee their home after Saeed's mother is killed by a stray bullet and their city turns increasingly dangerous due to worsening violent clashes between the government and guerillas. The couple joins other migrants traveling to safer havens via carefully guarded doors. Through one door, they wind up in a crowded camp on the Greek Island of Mykonos. Through another, they secure a private room in an abandoned London mansion populated mostly by displaced Nigerians. A third door takes them to California's Marin County. In each location, their relationship is by turns strengthened and tested by their struggle to find food, adequate shelter, and a sense of belonging among emigrant communities. Hamid's storytelling is stripped down, and the book's sweeping allegory is timely and resonant. Of particular importance is the contrast between the migrants' tenuous daily reality and that of the privileged second- or third-generation native population who'd prefer their new alien neighbors to simply disappear.
I voluntarily received an ARC of Exit West by Mohsin Hamid in exchange for an honest review.
Exit West is not my typical genre for pleasure reading. Honestly, the only books similar to this one I've read were on assigned reading lists in high school, but the blurb intrigued me, so I decided to give it a chance. Hamid's prose beautifully tells the captivating and trying story of Saeed and Nadia during a conflict that is still currently our world. It was very interesting to read about the conflict in the middle east and the refugee debate from someone on the other side. This book will definitely make you think about some of the current issues in our world.
A clear look into migrant’s struggles with a magical twist
This is a clear and sobering look into the struggles faced by refugees and displaced migrants. Yet if you are looking for a completely non-fiction story this is not it. At first I was confused until I realized fantasy/ magic, romance and historical fiction-ish could be woven into one book. Although odd at first I think “Exit West” is worth a read.
The ties that bind
Lovely. The words and cadence move slowly but bring attention to the emotions. He perfectly describes relatable emotions from characters whose lives are far removed from my experience - from the intensity and vividness of first love through fear and bonding, and the challenge of separation and independence. It’s just lovely and will read more of Hamid’s work.