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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, March 2017 - Set in a world being irrevocably transformed by migration, Exit West follows Saeed and Nadia, a young middle-class couple in an unnamed country. As their city collapses around them, they are forced to join a wave of migrants fleeing for their lives. But their journey is not what you'd expect. To escape, they decide to seek out one of the doors they've been hearing about, portals to another, safer part of the planet. Using these doorways to exit conflict zones, people emerge in Western societies. While magical and almost fairy-tale like, this novel is sharply modern - where social media is a prime source of information and drones fill the sky. There is also no fluff in the language - the story is told by a detached observer, which is perfectly captured in author/narrator Mohsin Hamid's beautifully measured performance. Spare yet rich, fanciful yet scarily realistic, Exit West brings home the very personal and human struggles people face as refugees. —Tricia, Audible Editor
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Publisher's Summary

From the internationally best-selling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a love story that unfolds across the rapidly changing face of a volatile world.
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....
Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
©2017 Mohsin Hamid (P)2017 Penguin Audio
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Critic Reviews

"The narrator's style is purposeful, measured, and dramatic. Each chapter leaves the listener waiting to hear what will happen next." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By David on 04-04-17

Where to Live?

Exit West offers a provocative look at the choices people make when their cities succumb to extremist violence. Saeed and Nadia, who want to get on with their ordinary but romantic lives in an unnamed country, find their jobs lost, their families sundered, their homes threatened by the growing street violence around them. They choose to escape, finding themselves in one affluent Western country after another. They live in impoverished refugee areas, struggling to get by and to maintain their love.

The novel was beautifully written. Mohsin Hamid does a competent job reading his own work. His tone is flat, as if he were deliberately repressing his anger and even rage at the way the world is harming his honorable young characters.

But authors should not read their own works. A professional actor would have brought more energy, more subtlety and more feeling to the novel. Nevertheless, an excellent listening experience.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By KP on 03-31-17

Notice the Doors

Exit West was beautifully written. It seemed like an allegory about immigration. Although Saeed and Nadia were the main immigrants, Hamid beautifully captured the experiences of just about ALL immigrants. It is his contention, in this book, that we ALL are immigrants in one sense or another. He demonstrates this by interspersing very short anecdotes that are unrelated to the main plot. These anecdotes seem to add up to a picture of the scope and variety of immigrants and immigration. A couple of these anecdotes didn’t really make much sense to me, but if I view them ALL as examples of immigration pure and simple, then a picture of the vastness of his definition for immigration emerges. In fact, it seems that almost any movement in space and through a door or portal could be construed as immigration according to Hamid. He uses the symbol of a door throughout the book to stand for various movements both in and out of any situation… thus immigration. This inclusivity serves to make the reader feel a part of the situation involving immigration in the world today, which is what I think Hamid was trying to do.

Not only does he do a good job of making the reader aware of the vastness of the immigration situation, he beautifully conveys male/female relationships through the progression of Saeed and Nadia’s partnership. His descriptions of their relationship are achingly beautiful, I thought. In fact , his descriptions of other relationships throughout the book are beautifully conveyed, as well.

It is a well written book that also carries a very timely message.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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