This article is also available in: Italiano
Mohsin Hamid’s latest book transports us into the new “magical realism” made in the Middle East. Between loves, doors to new corners of the world and that magical touch that only Hamid can give.
The key is in the doors, it seems something obvious but in this book they become something more, a portal to other places. The novel is in fact set in a world identical to ours but with one and a big difference: some apparently normal doors have turned into portals for other places. Those who pass through them are able to transport themselves from a random place on Earth.
Being a world like ours, the problem of migrants is at the highest level ever and the doors do nothing but facilitate all travel. However, they do not only transport migrants but are real links with the rest of humanity. Throughout the novel Hamid stresses that thanks to these many find happiness, be it a safer place or even new loves.
Nadia and Saeed
Our 2 protagonists. The writer does not intentionally tell us where they come from, his must be a global novel and he did not want to risk linking it too much to a place. Nadia and Saeed are two young boys from a city where civil war is about to break out. Their meeting happens by chance but the love that will be born between the 2 will be sincere and will push them to go beyond their limits, always, however, with sweetness.
The 2 couldn’t be more different: Saeed is a young Muslim believer born into a family of professors, Nadia a young independent feminist who wears a veil just to avoid boarding. Their love, however, continues in a city increasingly devastated by war and with Saeed’s parents increasingly suffering. However, when a door appears near their house, the temptation to abandon everything becomes too strong and the two will be forced to choose what to do with their lives.
I loved all the works of this author and “Exit West” is no exception. Hamid‘s touch is constant and evident throughout the work. The Pakistani writer always manages to show us the most brutal situations we could ever imagine, but with gentleness. This is what sets him apart from the others, the ability to never make humanity lose their characters, however the situation is put. In doing so, Hamid manages to bring you in complete harmony with their heads and their thoughts: you feel closer not based on how much they suffer but how much they are human.
Once you can empathize with them, however, it’s the end, you will never see anything with the same eyes again. Mohsin Hamid is one of the few authors whose I have all books and every time he shows me that this is no accident. In Exit West Hamid is confronted for the first time with the theme of migration by taking out a novel that is halfway between the moving and the dreamlike. Incredibile.
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