Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West captures a love story and the trials of immigration. With a touch of magical realism, people can passage into a new country by stepping through the threshold of certain doors. This takes out the long, brutal reality of finding a way to get into a desired place, but that also opens up the potential to explore the effects of these moves. Nadia and Saeed’s love story demonstrates the hope, decisions and distance from loved ones involved in such endeavors.
This relatively short novel has depth in its magical pages. It reads easily, but I wish I took it at a slower pace so I could contemplate longer what the characters experienced. I appreciate how it gives perspective on how identity and belonging shifts as Nadia and Saeed each feel they connect with different groups as they settle into new aspects of their lives.
For a realistic dive into a family’s decision to immigrate, I recommend Border Child by Michel Stone. It explores a Mexican couple’s gut-wrenching search to locate their daughter.