Book Review: Lyrical realism illuminates real immigration in the stunning Exit West

In an astonishing synthesis of political commentary and vivid imagery, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West is a commanding yet fanciful outlook of the current climate of global immigration and international xenophobia, as told through the poignant love story of those caught in between. The story follows Saeed and Nadia, curious and drawn together through likeness and wonder, thrown into a domestic war between their reigning government and rebel forces. Saeed, spiritual and kind, finds Nadia mysterious and hidden, while she, secular and calculating, falls for Saeed’s tender words and softer touches. As their love and relationship grows, their city begins to crumble around them. Through indirect yet lyrical language, Saeed and Nadia’s home remains unclear throughout, but seemingly parallels that of the Taliban and ISIS involvement in the Middle East or Northern Africa. With this more transcendent feel to the novel, it relies heavily on equivocal but meaningful …

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