Exit West (Hamid) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
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


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 - New York Times Book Review (cover)


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


In gossamer-fine sentences, Exit West weaves a pulse-raising tale of menace and romance, a parable of our refugee crisis, and a poignant vignette of love won and lost.… Let the word go forth: Hamid has written his most lyrical and piercing novel yet, destined to be one of this year’s landmark achievements.
Minneapolis Star Tribune


Hamid doesn’t avoid or sugarcoat the heartache and hurt accompanying contradiction and change, as people "all over the world were slipping away from where they had been." But he also has the courage to…see change as an opportunity.
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel


With great empathy, Hamid skillfully chronicles the manic condition of involuntary migration… Exit West rattles our perception of home.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch


A dark fable for our turbulent time, Exit West…portrays a world of transience, violence, and insecurity that rhymes with our world of porous borders and rabid tribalists.
Dallas Morning News


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


A remarkable accomplishment…not putting a human face on refugees so much as putting a refugee face on all of humankind.… Hamid’s writing—elegant and fluid…—makes Exit West an absorbing read, but the ideas he expresses and the future he’s bold enough to imagine define it as an unmissable one.
Atlantic


Hamid’s timely and spare new novel confronts the inevitability of mass global immigration, the unbroken cycle of violence and the indomitable human will to connect and love.
Huffington Post


Hamid’s storytelling is stripped down, and the book’s sweeping allegory is timely and resonant. Of particular importance is the contrast between the migrants’ tenuous daily reality and that of the privileged second- or third-generation native population who’d prefer their new alien neighbors to simply disappear.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review.) Both mellifluous and jarring, this novel is a profound meditation on the unpredictable temporality of human existence and the immeasurable cost of widespread enmity. —Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC
Library Journal


(Starred review.) [A] richly imaginative tale of love and loss in the ashes of civil war.… One of the most bittersweet love stories in modern memory and a book to savor even while despairing of its truths.
Kirkus Reviews

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