A beautifully written story that puts some home truths into perspective. Exit West is book of mystery, temptation and religion. A recommended read for all.
I picked up Exit West in Waterstones after being immediately attracted by the cover. I tend to do that thing where I immediately love a book from its cover. Of course I read the blurb too and that’s when I make my final decision whether to purchase or not. It was the peeling aways walls of the East and the door that leads into the pristine-looking West that had me wondering..
The blurb on the back explains…
‘In a city far away, bombs and assassinations shatter lives every day. Yet, even here, hope renews itself, welling up through the rubble. Somewhere in this city, two young people are smiling, hesitating, sharing cheap cigarettes, speaking softly then boldly, falling in love.
As the violence worsens and escape feels ever more necessary, they hear rumour of the mysterious black doors appearing all over the city, all over the world. To walk through a door is to find a new life – perhaps in Greece, in London, in California – and to lose the old one forever…
What does it mean to leave your only home behind? Can you belong to many places at once? And when the hour comes and the door stands open before you – will you go?’
It were these ‘doors’ that had me intrigued throughout the whole story. However at the beginning I immediately loved Nadia as a character. Without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say she’s unlike any Muslim girl I’ve ever known. She’s liberal, unafraid and independent. Saeed however, is more traditional but still with more of a mind of a Western man. The two main characters meet fairly soon in the story and you can’t help but wonder what will happen to them. Will they get together? How will they leave their war-stricken city?
So what did I think?
Overall, I liked it. It’s a quick read and one that you certainly can’t put down. I think everyone should read it to be honest , due to the fact that it highlights and puts some light on what it’s like to live as a refugee, and most importantly, how society deals with the issue – the little help and respect refugees get. We often forget that they are people too, running from a society that has fallen, often into a society that doesn’t know what to do with them.
The only qualm I have, is with some parts being fairly unrealistic. I mean, the doors… without spoilers.. what are they? What do they represent?? Please, please if you’ve read the book too, message me! I need someone to chat to about it!!
I also felt the ending was okay but I was quite sad about what happened to Saeed and Nadia. I would have liked more of a fight from Saeed. I think he was a pretty weak character actually.
Beware – some parts are pretty graphic too (in terms of blood and violence). The author certainly doesn’t hold back.
Have you read this book? Do you agree with parts being unrealistic? Let me know in the comments!
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is available on *Amazon UK for £5.39.
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