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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

An extraordinary story of love and hope from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, Saeed and Nadia lock eyes across their classroom. After a while, they talk, he makes her smile and they start to fall in love. They try not to notice the sound of bombs getting closer every night, the radio announcing new laws, the curfews and the public executions.

Eventually the problem is too big to ignore: it’s not safe for Nadia to live alone and she must move in with Saeed, even though they are not married, and that too is a problem. Meanwhile, rumours are spreading of strange black doors in secret places across the city, doors that lead to London or San Francisco, Greece or Dubai. One day soon the time will come for Nadia and Saeed to seek out one such door, joining the great outpouring of those fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world.

If you like Mohsin Hamid you might also like to read books by Ayad Akhtar.


Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing - to fall in love - in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it. Civil war has come to the city which Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind - when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world . . .


Writing in spare, crystalline prose, Hamid conveys the experience of living in a city under siege with sharp, stabbing immediacy Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Immediately canonical New Yorker

As with the very best literature, its crystalline readability fast eclipses its topicality Mail on Sunday

Publisher's description. In an unnamed city swollen by refugees but not yet at war, two young people meet and fall in love. They pretend not to hear the sound of bombs getting closer every night. But one day soon they will have to escape this place, running for their lives, searching for their place in the world. Penguin

Impressive... Exit West confirms Hamid's reputation as a brilliant ventriloquist who is deeply engaged with the most pressing issues of our time -- Andrew Motion (Book of the Week) Guardian

Powerful... Hamid unfolds the disintegration of civic life and the couple's poignant intimacy with vivid, economical strokes. Hamid is the master of the illuminating metaphor Sunday Times

Wry [and] intelligent... Part pared-down romance, part 21st-century fable for a world of porous borders, Exit West is a thought experiment that pivots on the crucial figure of this century: the migrant Financial Times

A subtle and moving examination of how human relationships endure and falter under unimaginable pressures. Exit West is an instant classic GQ

Breathlessly relevant... Hamid's book could hardly be more timely; it's addictively readable and brilliantly written to boot Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid grew up in Lahore, attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School and worked for several years as a management consultant in New York. His first novel, Moth Smoke, was published in ten languages, won a Betty Trask Award, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. His essays and journalism have appeared in Time, the New York Times and the Guardian, among others. Mohsin Hamid currently lives, works and writes in London.

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd March 2017


Mohsin Hamid

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Hamish Hamilton Ltd an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd


240 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Man Booker 2017
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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