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The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

Staff Profile
Mason Neal
Mason Neal
Staff Writer

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Review)

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Review)

In a world with no borders, Mohsin Hamid tells the story of two lovers trying to seek asylum as their city is on the brink of war. 

In the novel Exit West, Nadia and Saeed are two teenagers who reside in a city that is encountering rising conflicts. They meet in one of their classes, and Saeed decides to ask her out to get coffee. As the story continues, Nadia and Saeed grow closer and eventually start dating despite religious differences. 

They overcome many obstacles in their war-torn city as they continue to try to meet with one another, eventually leading them to seek asylum.

Doors are a very important symbol that show up throughout the novel. These “doors” are first alluded to in vignettes that occur very early on in the novel and are essentially portals to other various locations around the world. 

The vignettes allow the author to criticize how immigrants are treated when simply trying to seek asylum in another country. The first few vignettes show awful acts of bigotry, but some of the later vignettes show more signs of hope in a world connected by these magical doors.

Nadia and Saeed decide to go through one of the doors to escape the escalating violence happening in their city. Throughout the rest of the novel, the pair try to find their purpose as refugees, experiencing hardship, and traveling through many more doors trying to keep their relationship thriving. 

Hamid also tackles hard-hitting social issues like toxic nationalism and bigotry, addressing these concerns indirectly throughout the novel. By giving his takes on social challenges throughout the novel, Hamid informs the reader of conflicts immigrants face in the real world when trying to seek asylum. 

Toxic Nationalism is very prevalent throughout the story, especially when the characters are traveling from one region to another. They come face to face with nationalists of Britain when they travel through one of the doors, and experience various acts of violence towards them and other immigrants.

Closer to the end of the novel, one of the characters ends up coming out as bisexual, which shows Hamid’s support for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Hamid’s indirect callouts help inform the reader of various social issues that they might not have known about before reading the novel. 

Overall, the novel was quite enjoyable and tells a very descriptive story that many avid readers of the dystopian political fiction genre would enjoy. Hamid’s writing style is very in-depth and descriptive, painting vivid images in the reader’s mind that provoke intense emotions. 

However, the novel has a somewhat abrupt ending. Hamid’s writing makes up for this by making sure there is a “full circle” ending, even if it is a bit anticlimactic and predictable. 

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid was a very in depth novel, the writing was on point, and his social critiques were precise. His writing style is very enjoyable and easy to read for readers that may or may not be typical book worms. Hamid’s storytelling leaves the reader wanting more by the end of the book, even with the sudden ending. Hamid has written many other books including, The Last White Man, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist. 

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Review” represent the views, opinions, and recommendations of the author, not the 2023-2024 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.

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About the Contributor
Noah Guillaume, Staff Writer
Noah Guillaume is a senior who is new to Periscope and is excited to write many articles this year. Noah likes to research politics,  drink coffee, listen to music, and run cross country. He also loves creating chaos within his friend group and wasting money on energy drinks. He is glad to be part of the Periscope team.
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