Magazine article World Literature Today

Exit West

Magazine article World Literature Today

Exit West

Article excerpt

Mohsin Hamid. Exit West. New York. Riverhead Books. 2017. 231 pages.

Mohsin Hamid's latest novel explores the tender and tenuous relationship between Nadia and Saeed, young adults coming of age during a time of strife in their unnamed home country. Their stories begin before they were born as the reader learns about what the world looked like for Saeed's parents-and how he came to be. By the time Saeed and Nadia meet, both are comfortable in their stations in life. Nadia is a fully covered woman who surprises Saeed when he learns she rides a motorcycle and lives on her own, bucking the norms he assumes she follows based on her dress.

Their tentative relationship is both strengthened and weakened by the civil unrest that begins to permeate their formerly quiet city. When bombs disconnect them from their phones, the budding couple cannot speak to each other. Meanwhile, their desire for each other grows exponentially due to their forced separation. When terror strikes Saeed's family, the young couple decide they must take advantage of the "doors" that pop up around town and that lead people into another country.

When Saeed and Nadia walk through the first of many mystical doors, they arrive in Greece, where they are introduced to the life of a migrant. …

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