Exit West is a timely novel for it is about refugees: People,ordinary people, whose lives turn upside down within no time (usually) due to a war in which they have no part but it affects them deeply. It does terrible things to them. It makes them watch people die-people who mean the world to them, people whose lives are like strings,strings that keep the heart intact and once those strings are lost, the heart becomes loose and the soul becomes sad and this creates a void that can never be filled.
We are introduced to Saeed and Nadia, employees at business firms, who meet each other during an evening class. Their acquaintance soon turns into friendship and friendship into love. But all hell breaks loose when a terrorist organization launches an all out assault on their city, a city that resembles the Indo-Pak cities so closely.
We see how this relationship blooms and thrives in the worst scenarios imaginable. They way these people symbolize hope for each other is endearing. When all hope seems to be lost, magical doorways start appearing in random places. Doorways capable of transporting people across the globe within seconds.
Like thousands of others,Saeed and Nadia find such a doorway and find refuge initially on a Greek island and then in London before moving to San Francisco. These migrations across the globe lead to profound changes to the characters and soon the two find it difficult to hold onto a relationship that was their lifeline during the scariest of times.
Exit West is a beautiful tale. It is about sacrifice. It is about tragedy. It is about helplessness. But above all else, it is about the most powerful force on Earth-love.It is a beautiful narrative. One that should be read and reread.