Here's the basic premise of this book: doorways begin opening up all over the world allowing migrants of war torn nations to flee, instantly, to anywhere else in the world. Hamid does a great job of not letting this fantastical premise interfere with his lyrical yet gritty portrayal of war ravaged places or the camps to which the civilians caught in between eventually flee. But the heart of this terrific novel is actually a love story, told with beauty, grace and more than enough heartbreak, that examines what it takes to remain in love while living in a world in the midst of constant, world-altering turmoil.
Many writers have tried to capture the contemporary refugee crisis, but few have been as effective, or as poignant, as Hamid, who nudges the boundaries of realism aside in order to focus not so much on the danger of the journey as on the relationships forged by strangers in new lands. — From Sam
Summer 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“This slender and compulsively readable novel will be one of the most powerful and heartbreaking reads you will encounter. It’s a story of migration and love of all kinds while also being a lesson on empathy for people robbed of their basic rights and needs. Hamid’s prose is quiet yet commanding, delivering passages and scenes unlikely to leave your subconscious. Exit West is gorgeous, timely, and desperately needed.”
— Tarah Jennings, Mitzi's Books, Rapid City, SD
WINNER OF THE 2018 LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR FICTION and THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE TEN BEST BOOKS OF 2017, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW "A breathtaking novel... that] arrives at an urgent time." -NPR "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 A New York Times bestseller, the astonishingly visionary love story that imagines the forces that drive ordinary people from their homes into the uncertain embrace of new lands. 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.
About the Author
Mohsin Hamid is the author of the international bestsellers Exit West and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, both finalists for the Man Booker Prize. His first novel, Moth Smoke, won the Betty Trask Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award. His essays, a number of them collected as Discontent and Its Civilizations, have appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. He lives in Lahore, Pakistan.