Exit West

Exit WestExit West by Mohsin Hamid
Published by Riverhead on March 7th 2017
Pages: 231
ISBN: 0735212171
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This is a truly unique book that I have mixed feelings about. I initially enjoyed both of the characters and loved the beginning of the book. I loved how strong and fierce Nadia was while Saeed was more quiet and pensive. They enter into a relationship while their city is full of unrest. As the unrest continues and it becomes more and more dangerous, they begin to hear about the “doors”. Doors which could help them escape and take them far away. Not only far away from danger but far away from those they love.

Their story is about their experiences with each other as they have their romantic relationship and their experiences as migrants to the foreign countries they go to via the “doors” I appreciated how the Author showed how their relationship as well as the individuals were changed by their experiences. The how showed how experiencing things we cannot control affects us individually and as a couple. Even though they were affected, I wanted more character growth/more development.

I knew that I would have to suspend belief when I read this book. I am okay with that. I knew there was some magical realism involved so the idea of “doors” concept did not bother me one bit. What I wanted was more dialogue and more character development. Plus, I was not a fan of the brief vignettes. For me, the vignettes took away from the story and I often wondered if they were necessary. Were they used to make a point? If so, the point was lost on me. I wondered, while reading them, if they were used to fill up space, to make a word count as I did not see them as adding anything to the story. The writing can also be viewed as challenging for some – long run on sentences, overuse of commas to name a few. The Author does have some beautiful descriptions (as well as horrific ones)but also has quite some lengthy ones.

I had heard a lot of hype about this book and many people I know enjoyed this book much more than I did. For me this was good, not great.