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Exit West (2017)

by Mohsin Hamid

Other authors: John Erik Bøe Lindgren (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,4132173,568 (3.81)332
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 the couple 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.… (more)
  1. 40
    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Both books use a magical means of transportation to illuminate the plight of refugees (runaway slaves in one and immigrants in the other.)
  2. 10
    The Road Home by Rose Tremain (JenMDB)
  3. 10
    Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck (charl08)
    charl08: Similar rif on current refugee 'crisis' - but in a very different direction.
  4. 10
    American War by Omar El Akkad (sturlington)
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» See also 332 mentions

English (214)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (216)
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
A novel about a relationship set during the refugee crisis where people are able to escape turmoil through mysterious doors that transport them to various countries.

While important, I found this book to be a bit boring. What saved it for me was the fact that I started to listen to it about half way through and was able to hear the book through the author's voice, the way that he intended it to be interpreted. Unfortunately, I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. The parts that I did really enjoy reading were all about Saeed and Nadia's relationship; Hamid wrote about them with tenderness and fragility, which was truly a pleasure to read. ( )
  cbwalsh | Sep 13, 2023 |
If one can get over all the run-on sentences...it is a very good story! ( )
  AmandaPelon | Aug 26, 2023 |
I wish that I had not had to return this book to the library mid way through. It would have been better to read directly through, obviously.

That said, this book was beautifully written. Parts of it were so light and almost tenuous even as character stories being told were filled with great pain and life changing events. Gorgeous. ( )
  beentsy | Aug 12, 2023 |
A novel that explores the idea that our lives are composed of our relationships, one with another, but also with the time and places in which we reside. And that, as the author says, we are all migrants in time. In this novel the characters are magically able to migrate through space despite political obstacles, and these changes, along with the evolutionary changes that we all know from aging, let the author illuminate and heighten our view of people’s lives and of our own.
(I'm not sure that it is about refugees at all, it is just using them as the structure upon which the art is hung. If most of you are right and it is about refugees, then it isn't very good.) ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Exit West is a love story, a political novel, with elements of science fiction and futurism. Hamid simulates through his prose the claustrophobia of living in a repressive society and the disorientation of the refugee.

Saeed and Nadia are a bit too perfect - intelligent, industrious, reflective, open-minded. By idealizing them, Hamid is showing the wrongheadedness of nativism - who wouldn't want this couple as neighbors and fellow citizens?

The problem, of course, is that those anti-immigrant folks who need a reminder of the basic humanity of people crossing borders will never read this. This is NY Times liberal globalist propaganda.

Although the deus ex machina of the magic doors was a bit contrived, it did follow the pattern of refugees from the Middle East - from Mykonos to London to the States.

Hamid argues that populations and demographics will continue to seismically shift, and that Western countries need to deal with its inevitability.

( )
  jonbrammer | Jul 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 214 (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)
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mohsin Hamidprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lindgren, John Erik BøeTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Köpfer, MonikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quinn, MarysarahDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willey, RachelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Naved and Nasim
First words
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.
Quotations
‘I can understand it,’ she said. ‘Imagine if you lived here. And millions of people from all over the world suddenly arrived.’
’Millions arrived in our country,’ Saeed replied. ‘When there were wars nearby.’
‘That was different. Our country was poor. We didn’t feel we had as much to lose.’
Without borders nations appeared to be becoming somewhat illusory, and people were questioning what role they had to play.
But that is the way of things, for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.
Loss unites humanity, unites every human being, the temporary nature of our being-ness, and our shared sorrow, the heartache we each carry and yet too often refuse to acknowledge in one another.
We are all migrants through time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 the couple 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.

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