Exit West was a book that provided me some thoughtful musings.
The story was frightening in regards to a country being invaded and life changing for the inhabitants. This is something Australians may hear in our media frequently but few of us could never imagine what that would be like.
It’s not dissimilar to the “Tomorrow Series” of books by John Marsden - except, Exit West is based on reality.
The style of writing was strange. The book is full of long sentences that become a paragraph and the author, Mohsin Hamid provides no warning of a significant event in the story. The death of someone in the story falls off the page with no fanfare or warning. The death of Saeed’s mother is stated as a matter of fact and that is all.
However, the reason for this could be due to the characters having to deal with so much grief and change in their day to day lives that the death of someone close is just another significant event like the many others faced on a daily basis.
Then there is the use of the term “doors” in relation to the characters escaping from their country and moving on to other countries in which to live. Similar to the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” where Matt Damon is confronted with people who can pass through doors to another region of New York, doors are used figuratively in Exit West as a way to escape conflict and potential death.
And Exit West is a love story with a difference. Saeed and Nadia have a relationship but it’s nothing like a relationship seen in Hollywood movies or experienced by young Australians . It struggles along with their difficulty to communicate, be seen together let along holding hands in public. Once again it’s understandable that a relationship would suffer in a country that is invaded by militant religious fundamentalist. But even after they escape through a door, the relationship struggles. Intimacy is rare as it appears the couple hold onto their individualism. Saeed seems absorbed with his lost country and religion whilst Nadia continues to wear Islamic clothing despite not being all that religious. They did not have the luxury to enjoy a happy relationship on a beach whilst on holiday, or trips in the countryside for a picnic.
I liked Exit West and I would recommend it to a friend.
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 1 edition (1 March 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241979064
- ISBN-13: 978-0241979068
- Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 1.5 x 12.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 181 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)