Imagine a world where your life has been disrupted by war, and as badly as you want to leave, you can’t find your way out. Then imagine a door, a door that once stepped through, will transport you to another place. In Exit West
, Mohsin Hamid has created this door.
This was an absolutely breathtaking novel. The story of Nadia and Saeed felt so real, yet unimaginable for someone like myself, living on the other side of the world. As Nadia and Saeed leave their home, they become refugees, creating homes out of their surroundings, living with almost nothing but what they can carry on their backs. This was a story that put into perspective what is currently going on in the world, not only in Europe, but also here in America, where refugees are a hot topic. Should we take them? How many should we take? How should we process them? What are the criteria that need to be met?
It feels like a news story we hear about every week, something on the edges of our radar. We know it’s important, but it isn’t exactly happening to us. Exit West takes this story and puts a face to it, with characters who are probably not much older than myself. Yes there are magical doors, but this is one of the realest novels I’ve read this year. I felt transported, to the refugee camps in Mykonos, to the hometown of Nadia and Saeed, and to the tent where they lived.
This is a story that everyone should read, and my guess is that it will be one of the most important books of 2017.