I’ve been a fan of Mohsin Hamid since his debut novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I was always curious about his decision to move back to Pakistan and launch his literary career from there, rather than New York or London.
Having read this book, I can finally understand why. Exit West, a novel of refugees and mysterious portals and a changing world order, requires the experiences of living in such diverse places, from cosmopolitan cities to emerging nations catalyzed by globalization, and destroyed by war.
Sound familiar? It should.
I couldn’t help but compare our world to Hamid’s and how we both treat refugees. There are obvious similarities in the globalist vs nationalist internal battles, but Hamid adds a captivating twist with the magical portals that can transport you away to a safer land.
I can’t say any more without giving away the heart of Exit West. It’s a fantastically weird book. I read it in a weekend, and closed the book feeling puzzled. In one regard, Exit West helped me understand the motive behind anti-immigration views. In another, it made me more passionate about welcoming refugees and providing them the opportunities to create a new life.
It’s a timely book, and one I think everyone should read. If anything, I believe Exit West can help us all understand each other a little bit better.
With the exception of anyone who voted for the AHCA, that is. That…I still have no words on.