Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Exit West (Mohsin Hamid)

An intriguing novel that I wish had done a bit more

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Exit West
Author: Mohsin Hamid
Genre: Fiction / magical realism
First published: 2017
Edition: Kindle e-book

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, thrust into 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 whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As violence and the threat of violence escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through  . . .

***

I have been meaning to read this one for a good while. The idea of the story just sounded intriguing to me. I enjoyed this one, but the execution left me a little frustrated at times.

The commentary on migrants and using the doors to move people between countries and continents was so interesting. I really liked that angle. The writing however, though I respected it and found it easy to read, just felt a little distant. It felt rather clinical and it is not a style I prefer. That is not to say that I did not like the book. I definitely did. I just felt like I wanted to go a little deeper into the relationship between Nadia and Saeed and this version of our world they live in.

The world and society changed a lot in the background of this novel, but you never quite get an idea of how it changed or how it works. On one hand I kind of like that, because it focuses on two specific people and their very limited focus. However, there are other points of view sprinkled throughout that give a bit more information and I found it frustrating that they were not explored a bit more.

I did enjoy this one and I would definitely read more by this author, but I did find I may have wanted a bit more from a storyline I really liked.

5 out of 7 stars

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