Exit West is a novel written by the highly acclaimed author Mohsin Hamid. This is his latest novel...
Migration / Migrators : In a nutshell this story is about migration - be it the physical migration of an individual from one place to another in search of a better life or in order to escape the cruelties of war or in search of an illusion of happiness....It may even be a mental or an emotional migration, which we all go through either gradually with the passing of time or it may be a sudden and spontaneous one throwing us in unfamiliar, unknown and uncomfortable zones!!!
" For when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind."
" Everyone migrates, even if we stay in the same houses our whole lives, because we can't help it."
These two lines from the story sums up the feelings stirred in me by this beautiful, poignant, sad yet at the same time a story which is full of hope, faith and love!!
The book revolves around the lives of two young people, Saeed and Nadia, who meet and fall in love, in the background of a war torn country. However, life is very insecure owing to the growing unrest in the country, where no place is safe nor is anyone reliable!!
BLACK DOORS were mysterious exits in secret places across the town, which had the ability to take people away from the collapsing town to far away places like London or Greece or San Francisco. Saeed and Nadia also joined others fleeing from their hometown, hoping for their place in the world.
How I wish I could say that the story ends on
a "happily ever after" note here with Saeed and Nadia building their new life in a new city with full of positivity and love!!! Alas, life never turns out as we expect it to......
Saeed and Nadia had to face a whole new set of challenges in the form of adjusting to a new life as that of a war victim, an illegal immigrant trying to not loose their identity, their roots in a foreign land.
Hamid has woven many short beautiful stories in this complex web - stories not directly related to the main plot but somehow deeply embedded in the storyline. I am not exaggerating when I say that these stories are the highlight of the book. I actually would go back to re-read these stories.
This story does have a happy ending where all the wrongs do not convert into rights BUT a time and place in this universe where Saeed and Nadia are at peace with each other and especially content with the way their lives have shaped up!!