Weekend Reads: Exit West

Exit West, Mohsin Hamid

© Riverhead Books

Every once in a while a book comes along that genuinely surprises you. For me, Mohsin Hamid’s new novel, Exit West, was exactly that book. For the better part of a week Exit West was practically glued to my hands. I wasn’t expecting was how complex and deeply moving Hamid’s story I would be. So here I am, desperately telling everyone I know that they need to go out and pick up a copy of this profound meditation on Middle Eastern culture and immigration.

Exit West begins in a nameless city in the Middle East that is teetering on the brink of civil war. It’s as the violence escalates that two young people meet for the first time. Nadia is fierce, unapologetic, and independent. Saeed is gentle, and self-restrained in comparison. Their affair is intense, amplified by the sense that their lives could fall apart at any moment. And it does fell apart. But with the bombs and the checkpoints come whispers of mysterious doors that can transport people to other parts of the world. Nadia and Saeed decide that the only way they’ll survive is to find a door, no matter the cost, and find out what is waiting for them on the other side. And what’s waiting is gorgeous, heartbreaking, strange, and strangely familiar, pushing Exit West right to the top of my 2017 must-read pile.

Weekend Reads is a Friday column of The Nerd League featuring nuggets of wisdom on the literary world. Our in-house galley virtuoso tends to have the scoop on stuff before it’s even out. To keep up with this week’s pick click here.

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