Book Review: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

About the Book:

Exit West

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 . . .

My Thoughts:

Exit West is an absolute masterpiece, that is well crafted and inspires the reader to think about some rather important topics.

I had  the pleasure of listening to Mohsin speak about the book and his ideas at Shakespeare and Co., Paris in January 2018. This was quite an eye opener and helped put the story in perspective. It became easier to understand the plot and what the author wanted to convey.

The story is well-written and the simplest plot line is the story of Nadia and Saeed who find love in an unnamed war torn country. Told through their experiences, Exit West explores how the world around us is dynamic and always changing. Along with this, the people in this world are also changing, both physically and in personality, as a result of their experiences. The choices a person makes or is forced to make, contribute to shaping who they are. This is articulated very well by the author.

The author uses imagery to bring into context the use of “doors” to travel to different places. As an example, we can relate our use of technology as a way of going into another world or sequence, that is quite different from the current reality. Another subtle focus is on the concept of migration and the refugee status in countries. The author brings out the idea that everyone, even if they do not move from the current place where they live, can be considered to be migrants since the world around them is always changing. People move to find shelter and a safer place to live, the basic things that we need to lead a simple life.

As the story progresses, we follow our lead characters as they take a trip through many such doors. Their experiences and adventures seek to shape the story and the messages brought out. At times I found it difficult to relate to Nadia and Saeed. They were lacking in character depth and some parts of the story didn’t work for me. However, I found the concept of the story quite intriguing and I think that it is definitely worth a read! The book has received a lot of praise and it is well deserved.

Melting Love Moments by Lynne Pickering

This post is my review of one of Lynne Pickering’s books titled Melting Love Moments. There will be more information about the author and her books in subsequent posts.

About the book:

Suzette felt incredibly lonely. Although she was a stunningly beautiful part time model and perfume sales assistant, her life felt empty. Ten years in the same job had left her jaded and exhausted with her work.

One day, in a flash of inspiration, Suzette decides to visit a fortune-teller. Learning that her destiny lies in Paris, Suzette throws caution to the winds and abandons all that is familiar to her, determined to get to France.

Full of romance and betrayal Suzette’s new life is an unending stream of socialites, millionaires, politicians and couture fashion’s biggest names. Yet amidst all of the distractions and glamour Suzette must struggle to fulfill her destiny and find love.

My Thoughts:

This is a breezy, fun filled light story about following your dreams and falling in love. Suzette, though highly qualified, works as a sales girl for perfumes. She enters a competition which she is sure she will when and when she does, she has moved to Paris to pursue a new life. She wants to make a change in her life and she gets into journalism. She is a romantic and a believer in love at first sight. She meets her true  love by chance and they are separated by a series of unfortunate events till they find each other in Paris. This story is sweet and full of life as Suzette breezes through life cheerfully. Through all the obstacles Suzette faces, her easy charm, ready smile and optimism and enthusiasm are catching and provide a new outlook to life.

The characters are simple and easy to relate to though there is a lot of fashion and shoe talk. This is perhaps the first character I have come across who loves shoes so much. I enjoyed reading this book and recommend this for those who want a light book to read.