Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (2017) 231 pages
There are at least four reviews of Exit West on this site that compelled me to add the book to my "to read" list. I'm glad I finally had a chance to check it out. Two young adults, Nadia and Saeed, meet in their native land, an unnamed Middle Eastern country, while political turmoil is altering their country and endangering their lives. Eventually the couple decides to migrate, first to Greece, then to Britain, then to the US. Their migrations are almost magical, except that we see it often takes much waiting and concern before the time is right for them to go through the "doors" to other countries. Author Mohsin Hamid's power lies in his portrayal of the changing relationship of Nadia and Saeed. He packs worlds of meaning into what at first seem to be long, but simple phrases. One that particularly struck me: "They slept on the slender single bed together without speaking, without touching... not unlike a couple that was long and unhappily married, a couple that made out of opportunities for joy, misery" (page 127). Hamid also deals with evolving personal changes, e.g., one's changing inclination for prayer, or independence. This is a thoughtful work, filled with many instances of pithiness.