Exit West
February 12, 2018 9:22 AM - by Mohsin Hamid - Subscribe

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through...
posted by DirtyOldTown (2 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm very impressed with the way the central conceit--the semi-magical doors that can move refugees from one place to another--strips away the standard "how they got out" survival narrative of refugee stories and focuses the story instead on what it means to leave behind your country and how it feels to be facing down a future of frantic transit, unclear possibilities, and seemingly endless risk and anxiety.

The line about how “when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind” positively floored me.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:25 AM on February 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

This is still on my to-read pile, but I really enjoyed listening to Mohsin Hamid's conversation with Terry Gross last spring when it was published.
posted by Anita Bath at 11:09 AM on February 12, 2018

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