Many readers run away from the war stories, they feel it makes them sad and feels weird. But for me, it’s always raw emotions that I can also feel somewhere deep in my thoughts. We see it and read about it all the time, but never we share how we feel about it. I remember those days when I used to read about the mentality of these people who tend to turn so violent, the war stories, Osama Bin Laden, Iraq and Iran.
My mother used to be so worried about me, she felt as if I was crossing over to a dark side from where I will never return. What in reality was that I was just a curious child and I still am. That’s why no matter how much fiction or non-fiction I read, I will always go back to the war stories, the real pain, the stories that we always hear about but are never published.
And after weeks of reading fiction and non-fiction, I picked up Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Exit West revolves around refugee crisis that our world is going through. Nadia and Saeed notice each other and feel an instant connection. A cup of coffee and some stolen kisses help them divert their attention from the sound of bombs getting closer to them, the new laws and the public executions. As their city is crumbling, rumors are spreading about strange black doors all over the city that could take them to secret places like London, Greece and San Francisco. Someday, a time will come for Nadia and Saeed to go find one such door for their safe future.
Under the rubble, dust and bullets, will their love survive? Or the hardships of refugee camps and journey to find their safe haven take its toll on them?
Exit West is not your regular war story and refugee crisis. Mohsin Hamid went a step closer to show how a relationship survives through times of war. And not just that, refugee crisis is something that our world leaders need to focus on. Their shame of leaving the country, the hardships of finding a place for their offsprings, the struggle for food and water. This was not just a book, it was like a reading poetry, a roller coaster of raw emotions.
And even though this book is not everybody’s cup of tea, it is one of the best reads of 2018 for me!