Exit West

last updated 2018-05-31

by Mohsin Hamid

This was an absolutely beautiful and timely novel. Recommended to me by my mom! Hamid's stentence structure is head-rattling to start, but once the rhythm is picked up by the reader, the structure feels comforting. Each sentence is crafted to have just the right cadence and flow, reminding me of Halldór Laxness.

Saeed and Nadia knew what the buildup to conflict felt like, and so the feeling that hung over London in those days was not new to them, and they faced it not with bravery, exactly, and not with panic either, not mostly, but instead with a resignation shot through with moments of tension, with tension ebbing and flowing, and when the tension receded there was calm, the calm that is called the calm before the storm, but is in reality the foundation of a human life, waiting there for us between the steps of our march to our mortality, when we are compelled to pause and not act but be.

The novel examines civilian life during war and the subsequent migration that is often needed. It blends magical realism with intense reality and is centered on a tragic romance. I highly recommend media this book!

Saeed’s father felt as he walked back to campus and his son drove back to work that he had made a mistake with his career, that he should have done something else with his life, because then he might have had the money to send Saeed abroad. Perhaps he had been selfish, his notion of helping the youth and the country through teaching and research merely an expression of vanity, and the far more decent path would have been to pursue wealth at all costs.

...to love is to enter into the inevitability of one day not being able to protect what is most valuable to you.

Compiled 2024-04-21