I have just finished reading Moshin Hamid’s brilliant novel (Riverhead Books, 2018). This short novel resonates with the contemporary moment: the global refugee crises, travel bans, and the ongoing construction of physical walls built with the intention of creating hard national borders. Exit West introduces an element of magical realism into its all too real narrative: doorways that can take a person from war torn streets in any part of the world to the relatively safe harbors in Greece, San Francisco, and Britain. Essentially, the story centers on the trajectory of Saeed and Nadia’s love for one another and makes clear how the complexities of any human relationship are shaped by the inescapable horrors of war. It does not matter if you stay in the same house your whole life or travel across the country or the world, movement and change are inescapable.
Dana Van Kooy
Associate Professor of Transnational Literature, Literary Theory and Culture
Director of the English Program