Exit West by Moshin Hamid

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synopsis 

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whisper …more

My thoughts

This book was a bit underwhelming for me, mainly because I expected the intensity I got from Guapa in this book. I guess this is a reminder that not all books about Arabia (in both books, no specific country was named, but Arabia is kind of inferred) have the same story.

Exit West started out interestingly enough but dulled towards the end. The author in the beginning allowed readers to get to know Saeed and Nadia but still left a few things out that I was hoping to discover about them later, but it never happened. The author in the beginning of the book also seem to invest in their relationship, but again, just left it alone. I was interested in their love story.

I also wish the “door” would have been explained more, I was aware of what “the door” was, but I would have loved to know what actually went into the process, how the migration was till they reached their final destination.

Everything was just presented on a surface level, for example, the lives of refugees in a different country, or Nadia’s decision to wear a hijab but still engage in sex and drugs. For me personally, I think if an author is going to “go there,” they should go all the way. Meaning if you are going to touch on a serious important subject then you should completely explore it. I didn’t feel that Moshin Hamid did that.

Reading the book reviews, I felt that people had strong feelings and connection with this book that I didn’t feel. I’m not sure why I didn’t connect. It just seem so unsettling, well kind of like the life of Nadia, Saeed and other refugees running away from their homeland because of turmoil. I wasn’t too fond of how Moshin foreshadows the end of the story very early on in the book, like, why should I continue to read it if you JUST told me what the end is going to be.

What I do hope for for this book is that many people in the West read it just so they know how it feels like to be a refugee in a foreign country. I think it is important for readers to know that there are people who want to have a very normal life, like Nadia and Saeed that just wanted to go to cafes and sneak around to be together, just normal stuff. But are unable to because of a war torn country and are forced to grow up quickly. It shows how war and surviving can make people miss out on things that most of us take for granted.

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One thought on “Exit West by Moshin Hamid

  1. I loved this book. Mostly because it did open my eyes to something I have no experience with. I am fortunate that I do live in the U.S. (even though our current political climate makes me want to rip my hair out!).

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