Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Book 17/30.

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

That is the number of days I went without reading a 1 star book. The last time I rated a book 1 star was on October 14, 2021 when I finished reading Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I went all of 2022 without reading a 1 star book and that, buoyed by my decision in October 2022 to be more intentional going forward with the books I buy and subsequently read, led me to develop a false belief that I would never read a 1 star book again. But alas, here we are 😒 I was even a bit reluctant to rate this 1 star as I was not ready to break my streak of 535 days, but yikes this was just not good 🥴

Exit West tells the story of a country teetering on the brink of civil war where two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

I am struggling to wrap my head around the fact that this book was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fiction in 2017 as I did not connect with it AT ALL!!! The storyline, the characters, the many settings… I did not connect with ANY OF IT. My biggest challenge though was the writing. Paragraphs were one long sentence and I cannot help but wonder what does Mohsin Hamid have against full stops??!!! His writing also employed A LOT of repetition and in some ways it reminded me of how I write and served as a cautionary tale not to overdo repetition as a stylistic device in my writing going forward. The only thing I liked about this novel was how much weed Nadia and Saeed smoked, everything else was one big snooze fest 😴

The blurb from NPR at the front of the book says “the best writing of Hamid’s career…” and given how bad I found it I cannot imagine how awful the author’s worst writing is 🥴🥴🥴

View all my reviews

** A guide to ratings **
1 star – did not like it
2 stars – it was okay
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing

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