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Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid
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Exit West: A Novel (original 2017; edition 2018)

by Mohsin Hamid (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,334885,813 (3.89)215
Member:Donna828
Title:Exit West: A Novel
Authors:Mohsin Hamid (Author)
Info:Riverhead Books (2018), Edition: Reprint, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Immigration, Read in 2018

Work details

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (2017)

  1. 10
    Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck (charl08)
    charl08: Similar rif on current refugee 'crisis' - but in a very different direction.
  2. 10
    The Road Home by Rose Tremain (JenMDB)
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» See also 215 mentions

English (86)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All (88)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
I went into this book not knowing much other than the relation to the current migration issues around the world. Specifically, I didn't know about the more magical realism tendencies of the book, and so the first introduction of the "door" mechanism was oddly jarring. Once I got over that, I enjoyed the rest of the book. This book focuses on a refugee couple who travel through doors fleeing war in their (unnamed) home country. As they travel further from home, they become more and more distant from their culture and likewise find themselves drifting away from each other, until they each find a place for themselves. Along the way, there is conflict between the migrants who travel through doors and the populations already living in the area, although this is settled much more quickly than I thought it would be, and I found the wrapping up of that conflict almost the most fantastical part of the book. ( )
  duchessjlh | Jul 22, 2018 |
Exit West is not just a successful example of how to use speculative fiction to talk about the present (about the refugee crisis, specifically) but it’s also the story of the journey and the relationship of Saeed and Nadia, a young Muslim couple who escapes from their unnamed country using the “magical” doors that, without any logical explanation, have started appearing in different parts of the world linking countries at random.
Fortunately, their long journey through different doors, with stopovers in Mykonos and London and ending in San Francisco, is not just an excuse to show problems refugees and countries taking them in must face, although this is an essential, well-nuanced and interesting part of the plot; we’ll also be witnesses of how Saeed and Nadia will deeply change along their journey and how their bittersweet love story evolves. And all this in just around 200 pages. Not bad at all. ( )
  cuentosalgernon | Jul 21, 2018 |
3.5 Stars

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is a short book involving a new love, brewing war, and magical doors. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year, this is a book that begs to be read.

The story is about two people, Nadia and Saeed, as they meet and fall in love in the days just before civil war breaks out in an unnamed country. Nadia and Saeed are thrown together, not just for love but for survival in an ever changing, increasingly dangerous world. Then the rumors of the doors start – doors that open to other places. Sometimes it’s a bedroom, a bathroom, an office building, but the important part was that it was not Here, somewhere not torn apart by war. Their goal? To go through one of these doors.

This is what Exit West is about. This is also not what Exist West is about at all. I don’t want to say too much. Having the story spoiled would take away its magic and charm, and at only two hundred and thirty one pages, it is quite easy to do.

The use of magical doors opening to other places is used very interestingly here. Most often seen in fantasy are door which open to worlds entirely different from our own. There are no magical worlds behind these doors, just a bedroom on another continent or a bathroom in a tourist trap. This is an interesting take on a very old, well used trope.

There is not a lot of fantasy elements in this book. This isn’t unusual for magical realism. Like many other books in the genre, this magical element is included in an otherwise very mundane world and accepted as normal despite any visible abnormalities. These doors become very important, some sections of the book bringing them to the forefront more than others. Still, they are not focused on throughout the narrative and are by no means the main theme of the work. They are a means to an end, a device used to further the story. I do not mean this in a negative way. The magical doors preform their purpose very well, and I liked their inclusion within the book.

The real heart of the story revolves around Nadia and Saeed, their relationship, and their struggle through war and as refugees. This is a purely character driven narrative. Nadia and Saeed are very flawed and human, their personalities a combination of sometimes contradictory things. As the characters learn about one another the reader learns about them. As they fall in love, as they rely on one another more deeply than most new couples do.

I do not often read books of this sort, but I was rather enthralled with this book. I was immediately sucked into the world by the beautiful, lyrical prose. The characters were interesting, the world behind them filled with danger and just the barest hint of some magic. And before I knew it half the book was over. Towards the second half of the book events do begin to slow down. The magical realism was much less visible, only mentioned every once in a while. At times, my attention waned. It became more and more apparent at what the book was ultimately trying to say and could have had a few passages shortened here or there.

Still, this was a very good book, one that truly does deserve to be read regardless of what genres may be usually read. I’m glad I picked up Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. It was a beautiful story with an ending that, while not unexpected, was fitted in perfectly with the story at hand. Magical realism can sometimes be a tricky thing, sometimes too overt, sometimes not over enough, and only manages to become uncanny. It never felt this way on the book.

This review and more can be found on my blog Looking Glass Reads. ( )
  kateprice88 | Jul 19, 2018 |
Hamid's beautifully written novel focuses on universal human needs and migration. He imparts a deep story with perception and understanding yet keeps the text elegantly minimal. By using the ingenious device of "doors" to transport Nadia and Saeed, Hamid is able to go to the heart of the story of two young people, without needing to detail the usual migrant conveyances. My heart goes out to people like Nadia and Saeed who must flee their home in order to survive. Highly recommended. ( )
  VivienneR | Jul 16, 2018 |
This is a beautiful and beautifully written book. It is no mean feat to tell a story about love and war in an utterly unsentimental way. this man can write. But I could not find my connection to the story, to these people. Maybe its me. I have a lot going on personally at the moment, and maybe I could not bring enough emotional energy. For whatever reason I got no hint of what Saeed and Nadia felt. Again, this might be reader error.

One note: A, lot is made of the book's "magical realism" in these comments, but it is not important at all. Hamid uses one thing as a device to end run the technical complexities of immigration, but otherwise there is no magic at all. ( )
  Narshkite | Jul 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Sortida a Occident, de Mohsin Hamid, comença sent una història d’amor íntima i emocionant i acaba sent una profecia novel·lada sobre el futur que, globalment, ens espera. En Saeed i la Nadia són dos joves que viuen en un país del qual no se’ns diu el nom però que per les seves característiques -és musulmà i està governat per un règim autoritari contra el qual se subleven milícies integristes- resulta familiar. L’amor entre en Saeed, retret i conservador, i la Nadia, valenta i independent, creix a mesura que el seu país s’esllavissa per l’abisme de la guerra, cosa que els obliga a fugir. És en aquest punt que Hamid es treu de la màniga un cop d’efecte argumental que desplaça les coordenades de gènere de la novel·la. Resulta que, arreu del planeta, han començat a aparèixer portes secretes i especials que transporten qui les travessa a un altre indret del globus. La introducció d’un element tan explícitament fantasiós fa que, després de creure durant tot el terç inicial que ens trobàvem davant d’un relat realista (si bé l’autor va preparant el que vindrà mitjançant unes escenes breus i estranyes), de sobte ens descobrim abocats a una mena de faula futurològica.
added by bugaderes39 | editAra, Pere Antoni Pons (Nov 11, 2017)
 
Exit West is animated – confused, some may think – by this constant motion between genre, between psychological and political space, and between a recent past, an intensified present and a near future. It’s a motion that mirrors that of a planet where millions are trying to slip away “from once fertile plains cracking with dryness, from seaside villages gasping beneath tidal surges, from overcrowded cities and murderous battlefields”.
added by VivienneR | editThe Guardian, Sukhdev Sandhu (Mar 12, 2017)
 

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Mohsin Hamidprimary authorall editionscalculated
Köpfer, MonikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Naved and Nasim
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In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, a young man met a young woman in a classroom and did not speak to her.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0735212171, Hardcover)

From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, a love story that unfolds in a world being irrevocably transformed by migration.
 
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, thrust into 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 violence and the threat of violence escalate, 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 is an epic compressed into a slender page-turner—both completely of our time and for all time, Mohsin Hamid’s most ambitious and electrifying novel yet.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 27 Aug 2016 15:30:55 -0400)

"From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, a love story that unfolds in a world being irrevocably transformed by migration. 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, thrust into 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 violence and the threat of violence escalate, 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 is an epic compressed into a slender page-turner--both completely of our time and for all time, Mohsin Hamid's most ambitious and electrifying novel yet"--… (more)

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