Moshin Hamid’s new novel Exit West is already shaping up to be one of our favorite books of the year! Telling the story of Nadia and Saeed, two young refugees escaping the violence of their home country, Exit West is as timely and important as it is beautifully written. We simply love this book. We also believe that Exit West calls attention to the struggles of real people around the world who are forced to leave one country for another. BookPeople is proud to be donating a portion of sales from Exit West to Caritas of Austin, a local organization that provides services and resettlement for refugees in our community.
We hope you will enjoy reading Exit West as much as we have and be inspired to find ways to lift up and support our neighbors in need!
I am amazed that a 230 page book can manage to be so sweeping in its scope. Exit West will absolutely be a classic. Hamid deliberately doesn’t imbue his protagonists, Nadia and Saeed, with a specified national identity, though the reader will no doubt infer that they are refugees fleeing the current crises in Syria or Iraq. They are cultural blank slates, un-politicized and areligious, and the story of their relationship, with each other and with their world, is both universal and immediate. Their story of migration is also easily transposed, and Hamid does some of this transposing himself, periodically breaking away from Nadia and Saeed, through one of the figurative doors which populate this world, transporting migrants from one land to another, to give of us brief slices of life of other stories of migration throughout the world. Exit West is beautiful and heartbreaking, and has been one of my favorite reads this year
How can a work of such hope and promise, love loss and gain, a sense of progress; a peaceful journey for all evoke such a sense of dread and devastation? The last pages brought tears to my eyes. Maybe we will all wake up someday. I doubt it though.
Mohsin Hamid just never stops getting better. This timely, relevant tale of immigrants fleeing their country feels important and political but also deeply human and personal. I can’t stop thinking about Nadia and Saeed and the choices they had to make — the sacrifices. This fictional take on a very real global problem is so compelling that I couldn’t stop reading — I had to follow Nadia and Saeed through each door as they got farther and farther away from their home and grew farther apart from each other, in search of safety and the life they wanted. This book is perfect for right now, and will certainly be one of the most important novels of the spring.
Mohsin Hamid writes about immigration and refugees and love and what it is to have a home in the most achingly beautiful style. The best kind of literary fiction.
There are some terrific books that – when you finish the last page and close the covers – leave you absolutely speechless, emotionally wrecked, or just blown away. Exit West accomplishes these things at the end of nearly every chapter! The prose is simply gorgeous, the plot compelling, and the characters remarkably lucid. Although set against a backdrop of insurgent, urban violence and the precarious lives of the victims fleeing that violence, the heart of the story remains the deep, personal relationship between the two main characters – the highs and lows of their young romance. It’s a familiar tale that could easily resonate if set at any other time period, in any other part of the world, and yet placed within the context of the global migratory experience becomes especially powerful for today’s readers. This novel may well be the best book I read in 2017 and I’m very grateful to the co-workers who literally shoved a copy of it into my hands.
I can’t stop recommending this novel to my fellow booksellers. Hamid’s tale of migration, terror, loving, and longing is timely and beautifully told.
I can’t seem to stop talking about Exit West, I just want everyone to read it–it’s an incredibly special book, in part because it is a book–unlike any other format, reading about these lives (in English) destroys any visual or language barriers we might (even subconsciously) put up, forcing us to confront the reality that these /are people/, individuals, human beings–sometimes religious, sometimes not–who listen to music, have mothers and fathers, and who fall in love. Who are just like the people we know, the people we are–not some unknown, far-far away–made potent and heartbreaking by the immediacy and familiarity of their circumstances.
“Yes – Much Love!” isn’t enough. This book, at this moment, will hopefully be one of the world’s defining works of fiction. I can’t speak of Hamid’s other works, but Exit West stakes him as the Eileen Chang of the 21st century. This is the kind of book that needs to be handed out on street corners: a compassionate, encompassing, and timely work about the current state of the world.
Hamid uses the struggle of refugees to illustrate the tale of Nadia And Saeed, two young lovers who are fleeing from the horrors of their homeland to something new. Doorways appear that help them find their way – opportunity really. A most interesting development is that both are transformed by their journey to the west. This may be the point of the book: that helping immigrants to flee what is oppressing them allows them to assimilate into a new culture and become more than what they were at the beginning of their journey. Let’s not forget that America is a melting pot of cultures that is weakened by curtailing that important influx of new lives. Timely and beautifully written, Hamid’s book is a great read for someone looking to understand something about the refugee experience.
As if Wong Kar Wai made a film about the refugee crisis.