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Hamid, M: Exit West

A Novel




"A breathtaking novel...[that] arrives at an urgent time." -NPR.org

"It was as if Hamid knew what was going to happen to America and the world, and gave us a road map to our future... At once terrifying and ... oddly hopeful." -Ayelet Waldman, The New York Times Book Review

"Moving, audacious, and indelibly human." -Entertainment Weekly, "A" rating

"A finalist for the Man Booker Prize and a New York Times bestseller, the astonishingly visionary love story that imagines the forces that drive ordinary people from their homes into the uncertain embrace of new lands.

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet-sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors-doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .

Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
"Hamid exploits fiction's capacity to elicit empathy and identification to imagine a better world. It is also a possible world. Exit West does not lead to utopia, but to a near future and the dim shapes of strangers that we can see through a distant doorway. All we have to do is step through it and meet them." --Viet Thanh Nguyen, The New York Times Book Review (cover)

"In spare, crystalline prose, Hamid conveys the experience of living in a city under siege with sharp, stabbing immediacy. He shows just how swiftly ordinary life - with all its banal rituals and routines - can morph into the defensive crouch of life in a war zone. ... [and] how insidiously violence alters the calculus of daily life. ... By mixing the real and the surreal, and using old fairy-tale magic, Hamid has created a fictional universe that captures the global perils percolating beneath today's headlines." --Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

"Lyrical and urgent, the globalist novel evokes the dreams and disillusionments that follow Saeed and Nadia....and peels away the dross of bigotry to expose the beauty of our common humanity." -O, the Oprah Magazine

"A beautiful and very detailed look at what it means to be an immigrant...An incredible book." -Sarah Jessica Parker on Read it Forward

"A little like the eerily significant Margaret Atwood novel, this love story amid the rubble of violence, uncertainty, and modernity feels at once otherworldly and all too real." -New York Magazine's The Strategist

"This is the best writing of Hamid's career... Readers will find themselves going back and savoring each paragraph several times before moving on. He's that good. ... Breathtaking." -NPR.org

"Nearly every page reflects the tangible impact of life during wartime-not just the blood and gunsmoke of daily bombardments, but the quieter collateral damage that seeps in. The true magic of [Exit West] is how it manages to render it all in a narrative so moving, audacious, and indelibly human." -Entertainment Weekly, "A rating"

"Hamid rewrites the world as a place thoroughly, gorgeously, and permanently overrun by refugees and migrants. ... But, still, he depicts the world as resolutely beautiful and, at its core, unchanged. The novel feels immediately canonical, so firm and unerring is Hamid's understanding of our time and its most pressing questions." -NewYorker.com

"No novel is really about the cliche called 'the human condition,' but good novels expose and interpret the particular condition of the humans in their charge, and this is what Hamid has achieved here. If in its physical and perilous immediacy Nadia and Saeed's condition is alien to the mass of us, Exit West makes a final, certain declaration of affinity: 'We are all migrants through time.'" -Washington Post

"Skillful and panoramic from the outset... [A] meticulously crafted, ambitious story of many layers, many geopolitical realities, many lives and circumstances...Here is the world, he seems to be saying, the direction we're hurtling in. How are we going to mitigate the damage we've done?" -The New York Review of Books

"Like the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but set in the real world. You'll be hearing about it, so get into it now." -TheSkimm

"Spellbinding." -Buzzfeed

"Hamid graphically explores a fundamental and important ontological question: Is it possible for us to conceive of ourselves at all, except in juxtaposition to an "other"?... What is remarkable about Hamid's narrative is that war is not, in fact, able to marginalize the "precious mundanity" of everyday life. Instead - and herein lies Hamid's genius as a storyteller - the mundanity, the minor joys of life, like bringing flowers to a lover, smoking a joint, and looking at stars, compete with the horrors of war." -Los Angeles Times

"In an era when powerful ruling groups - often in the minority - are gripped by a sense of religious and ethnic nativism, Mohsin offers these two, the millions they represent
Mohsin Hamid is the author of the international bestsellers Exit West and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, both finalists for the Man Booker Prize. His first novel, Moth Smoke, won the Betty Trask Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award. His essays, a number of them collected as Discontent and Its Civilizations, have appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. He lives in Lahore, Pakistan.
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  • In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, a young man met a young woman in a classroom and did not speak to her. For many days. His name was Saeed and her name was Nadia and he had a beard, not a full beard, more a studiously maintained stubble, and she was always clad from the tips of her toes to the bottom of her jugular notch in a f lowing black robe. Back then people continued to enjoy the luxury of wearing more or less what they wanted to wear, clothing and hair wise, within certain bounds of course, and so these choices meant something.

    It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class-in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding-but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does.

    Saeed noticed that Nadia had a beauty mark on her neck, a tawny oval that sometimes, rarely but not never, moved with her pulse.

    Not long after noticing this, Saeed spoke to Nadia for the first time. Their city had yet to experience any major fighting, just some shootings and the odd car bombing, felt in one's chest cavity as a subsonic vibration like those emitted by large loudspeakers at music concerts, and Saeed and Nadia had packed up their books and were leaving class.

    In the stairwell he turned to her and said, "Listen, would you like to have a coffee," and after a brief pause added, to make it seem less forward, given her conservative attire, "in the cafeteria?"

    Nadia looked him in the eye. "You don't say your evening prayers?" she asked.

    Saeed conjured up his most endearing grin. "Not always. Sadly."

    Her expression did not change.

    So he persevered, clinging to his grin with the mounting desperation of a doomed rock climber: "I think it's personal. Each of us has his own way. Or . . . her own way. Nobody's perfect. And, in any case-"

    She interrupted him. "I don't pray," she said. She continued to gaze at him steadily.

    Then she said, "Maybe another time."

    He watched as she walked out to the student parking area and there, instead of covering her head with a black cloth, as he expected, she donned a black motorcycle helmet that had been locked to a scuffed-up hundred-ish cc trail bike, snapped down her visor, straddled her ride, and rode off, disappearing with a controlled rumble into the gathering dusk.

    The next day, at work, Saeed found himself unable to stop thinking of Nadia. Saeed's employer was an agency that specialized in the placement of outdoor advertising. They owned billboards all around the city, rented others, and struck deals for further space with the likes of bus lines, sports stadiums, and proprietors of tall buildings.

    The agency occupied both floors of a converted townhouse and had over a dozen employees. Saeed was among the most junior, but his boss liked him and had tasked him with turning around a pitch to a local soap company that had to go out by email before five. Normally Saeed tried to do copious amounts of online research and customize his presentations as much as possible. "It's not a story if it doesn't have an audience," his boss was fond of saying, and for Saeed this meant trying to show a client that his firm truly understood their business, could really get under their skin and see things from their point of view.

    But today, even though the pitch was important-every pitch was important: the economy was sluggish from mounting unrest and one of the first costs clients seemed to want to cut was outdoor advertising-Saeed couldn't focus. A large tree, overgrown and untrimmed, reared up from the tiny back lawn of his firm's townhouse, blocking out the
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Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 256
Erscheinungsdatum 01.01.2018
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-525-53506-5
Verlag Penguin LCC US
Maße (L/B/H) 20.3/12.8/2.2 cm
Gewicht 195 g
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
Fr. 17.90
Fr. 17.90
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inkl. gesetzl. MwSt.
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2 Bewertungen

Was geschieht mit uns - wenn wir durch die schwarze Tür gehen ?
von einer Kundin/einem Kunden aus Hamburg am 21.07.2017
Bewertet: Einband: Taschenbuch

Ein verstörendes Buch - noch als eine Fiktion geschrieben. Wird irgendwann unsere Welt so aufgeteilt sein, in die helle Welt, die alles hat und die dunkle Welt in der nur Menschen leben, die geflohen sind und in Ghettos eingesperrt werden? Krieg gegen die Menschen, die aus dem Krieg kommen ? Verwirrend die Idee, die fiktiven Stä... Ein verstörendes Buch - noch als eine Fiktion geschrieben. Wird irgendwann unsere Welt so aufgeteilt sein, in die helle Welt, die alles hat und die dunkle Welt in der nur Menschen leben, die geflohen sind und in Ghettos eingesperrt werden? Krieg gegen die Menschen, die aus dem Krieg kommen ? Verwirrend die Idee, die fiktiven Städte mit den Namen der großen Metropolen zu benennen, die schwarzen Türen die am Meer und in der Wüste oder in London enden.Eine nachdenkliche und nachvollziehbare Geschichte, weil die Protagonisten ein junges Paar mit Hoffnungen und Träumen sind, die nur ein "normales" Leben in Freiheit und Sicherheit wollen. Der Verzicht auf die Schilderung extremer Grausamkeiten macht das Buch noch intensiver, weil es die fast schon erreichte Normalität schildert und nicht nur Fiktion.

Exit West
von miss.mesmerized am 28.02.2017
Bewertet: gebundene Ausgabe

The city is already at war when Saeed first meets Nadia in an evening class. Yet, there is still something like an ordinary life. Both of them go to work, go shopping and spend time on the Internet. Their love is not passion at first sight, it develops slowly and as they are falling in love, life becomes increasingly difficult a... The city is already at war when Saeed first meets Nadia in an evening class. Yet, there is still something like an ordinary life. Both of them go to work, go shopping and spend time on the Internet. Their love is not passion at first sight, it develops slowly and as they are falling in love, life becomes increasingly difficult and dangerous in their hometown. Violence becomes a normal factor in their lives and when the war finally arrives also in their quarter, they have to make a decision: do they want to spend the rest of their time together? When Saeed’s mother is killed, Nadia moves in with him and his father. But the situation becomes more and more complicated and so they finally decide to leave and follow thousands of others into a better life in the west. Mohsin Hamid does not give any name to Saeed’s and Nadia’s hometown, from the information we can find in the novel, I gather it must be in Syria or one of the neighbouring countries. What I found quite impressive was, first of all, how everyday life can be arranged in times of war. People adapt to the situation, find ways of coping with limitations in their freedom of moving around when curfews are announced and can even organise their life around religious regulations ordered by the rulers. When food is limited and even their own flats are not secure anymore, they maintain at least the impression of normality. The second aspect I especially appreciated was the character of Nadia. Even before the story begins, she is a free spirit, lives according to her own rules and does not let herself be dominated by the men in a man-dominated country. The fact that she as a single woman who lives alone is already impressive, but her real strength becomes only obvious when she and Saeed leave the country and have to rearrange their life in foreign places. In contrast to Saeed, she does not look back and search for familiar people who speak the same language and practise the same religion. Nadia can really adapt to new situations and show her intelligence and capacities of bonding with people. She is not afraid, she has already lost her home country, her family and gave up everything. Exit West contributes to the current politically most discussed topic in Europe. Yet, it does not highlight the political dimension of the quasi exodus of a whole generation, but focuses on the personal perspective. With Saeed and Nadia, we have a loving couple who leave behind different lives and who struggle in very different ways with their role as refugees. How the citizens of London react to the newcomers could be interesting to look at more closely, just as the development of their relationship over the course of time. The role of men and women in the different countries is also worth another thought. Yet, everything cannot be mentioned in a review, particularly if a novel offers that much as Exit West does. It is also Hamid’s style of writing which contributes to making the novel stand out in the masses of new publications. With a plain, very direct way of narration, the author can hit the reader deeply and hinder anybody from just reading the novel, closing the book and forgetting about it.