Exit West by Mohsin Hamid – Thoughts

On one of the podcasts of a book blogger I follow, I had heard a guest give rave reviews about this book. He had said something along the lines that this book had changed his life and brought him out of a long reading slump. So I had bought this book with a lot of excitement. I made my husband read it too, and he wasn’t very excited about the book once he finished it.

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Now, I finally read this book, and well, I’m not too happy with the book either. Let’s just say it was a half and half sort of book for me. I was really interested in the premise, the beginning was great and I was quite invested in Saeed and Nadia’s relationship and their story, at least till about 60% of the book. I liked the concept of using ‘magical doors’ to explore different themes, experiences and reactions of different people on the subject of migration. I thought the author had cleverly written about different types of ‘migrations’ – such as migrating from youth to old age, migrating from one relationship to another, migrating from one place to another, migrating from one culture to another, migrating from loneliness to belonging somewhere, migration as a positive outcome or a negative outcome – so all that was great.

What I didn’t enjoy so much was the lack of dialogue in the story. I like to read a mix of conversations and descriptions, but this book just seemed like the author was telling you about his thoughts on different types of migration via these common characters. I also felt that the story arc of Saeed and Nadia gets lost somewhere in the overall narrative on migration. I felt, that the author could have just equally removed the ‘doors’ and split this book into different short stories on the theme of migration and I might have found that most satisfying. Some of the stories that he writes in between, just seem lost and without any purpose, such as that scene about the bar in Japan with the tattooed guy and the girls he decides to follow.

So, for me, the book was good, but not as great as the reviews I’ve read and heard from other readers. I’m also glad that the book was as short as it was, else I would’ve fallen asleep somewhere reading from the minds of Saeed, Nadia and the author 🙂

That was my last book read in the month of September 🙂 It was another great month of reading. I will be posting my September life diaries and reading wrap up post soon.

In the meanwhile, I’ll also be looking forward to all your wrap up posts 🙂

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