Book Review-Exit West by Mohsin Hamid


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Exit west is a novel drawn from our contemporary world of war ,displacement and refugee life . How war strips away the last vestiges of normalcy and familiarity of life .
It is the story of 2 young individuals who are just beginning their lives . Their country is in the midst of a turmoil , beset by a civil war . They live daily in the shadow of violence.The threat of death is terrifyingly real .Even in such bleak times when survival itself is at stake , the human mind still craves for love . It is in such difficult circumstances that Nadia & Saeed meet and their clandestine love affair begins .Nadia is independent , and not afraid of embracing her sexuality and sensuousness . Saeed on the other hand is quiet and contemplative . With Saeed’s mother’s death ,they are forced to migrate ,leaving Saeed’s father behind .
In Exit West , the author has made an attempt to confront the guilt of the surviving .The guilt that you survived while the others died . The book closely examines the minds of immigrants who are forced to flee their homeland leaving behind all that had characterized life as they knew it .Mohsin Hamid has well brought about the inner conflict of the refugee mind . On the one hand there is a certain sense of irony , where the two , Saeed especially tries to valiantly hold onto their culture,language , also trying to shift camps to stay with refugees from his homeland . While Nadia on the other hand ,has accepted the fact that the past is best left behind . I didn’t know who was right . But that dilemma stayed with me for quite sometime . The doors that act as a teleportation device to transport the refugees from their strife-torn homelands to secure areas bear a surreal similarity to the Syrian refugee crisis and the boat tragedies that have become commonplace.Magic realism fused with the heartbreaking reality of forced exodus is of a sinister relevance in today’s troubled times.
Hamid’s writing is evocative and the emotions are genuine . At this time when there is so much antipathy directed towards refugees , the book reminds us how violent the act of displacement is . How it leaves the subjects emotionally fractured. It is a good lesson in empathy .The book touched me and I will remember it for a long time .

Recommend it as a relevant read in the wake of the polarisation and the ubiquitous refugee crisis that our world is witness to and also to emphasize how inhumane it is to deny them the right to a safe , normal life .

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