Exit West

a novel

231 pages

English language

Published Sept. 11, 2017 by Riverhead Books.

ISBN:
9780735212176
OCLC Number:
951925351

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (16 reviews)

"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. [This book] follows the couple 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."--From regular print book.

6 editions

Review of 'Exit West' on 'LibraryThing'

4 stars

A beautiful book about migration, and how that might look in the face of one big change in how the world works. Like so many migration stories, it starts with an intensely sad premise, and even though the book is not an unrelenting wallow in that, the sadness is never exactly absent.

It's written in a very distinctive style, full of long sentences that at times can be achingly beautiful, and at times feel like a useful device for conveying the complexity of the characters' entangled lives, but at other times also become rather grating, as though the author's forgotten that breaking a paragraph up into sentences is an option available to him, or just become too reliant on this device because when it does work it works so well, and I suppose I'm particularly sensitive to this because long run-on sentences are a common flaw in my own writing, …

Review of 'Exit West' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I'm thinking weird things about this one. I love the concept of the doors out and the (almost) reportage on the refugee experience. So it enlarged my world to some degree.

However, the staccato bursts of the language give the text a rhythm without music. Each sentence feels like a series of two or three monosyllabic machine gun bursts whether the scene portrayed is romantic, contemplative, or a description of actual machine gun bursts. It's wearying.

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