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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, March 2017 - Set in a world being irrevocably transformed by migration, Exit West follows Saeed and Nadia, a young middle-class couple in an unnamed country. As their city collapses around them, they are forced to join a wave of migrants fleeing for their lives. But their journey is not what you'd expect. To escape, they decide to seek out one of the doors they've been hearing about, portals to another, safer part of the planet. Using these doorways to exit conflict zones, people emerge in Western societies. While magical and almost fairy-tale like, this novel is sharply modern - where social media is a prime source of information and drones fill the sky. There is also no fluff in the language - the story is told by a detached observer, which is perfectly captured in author/narrator Mohsin Hamid's beautifully measured performance. Spare yet rich, fanciful yet scarily realistic, Exit West brings home the very personal and human struggles people face as refugees. —Tricia, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

From the internationally best-selling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a love story that unfolds across the rapidly changing face of a volatile world.

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, 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....

Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

©2017 Mohsin Hamid (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"The narrator's style is purposeful, measured, and dramatic. Each chapter leaves the listener waiting to hear what will happen next." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about Exit West

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beautifully written. Compelling story.

Beautifully written. Compelling story. richly wrought characters. in other words, perfect. I want to buy the paper book...and read it.

1 person found this helpful

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this is so sad

I think im gonna cry 😢. I don't know. good book. I highly recommend, can finish easily in 1 sitting.

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Unique as always

Thought-provoking and insightful while remaining as simple as possible. A very unique writing style, as with his other books, and quite engaging

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A tale for our time

Loved the narration. A refreshing voice and much needed for this global story. A wonderful exploration of migration and coexistence.

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A moving book, but the narration leaves something to be desired

This book was moving, fresh and unexpected. I loved the unexpected nod to magical realism. However I do feel the book would have been better served with a professional audiobook narrator or an actor. Author narration is almost always a bit disappointing. This really fantastic piece came from his mind, but his voice is monotone and stiff. I actually felt a little uncomfortable listening to some of the more sensitive and intimate scenes with his awkward narration.

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  • David
  • 2017-04-04

Where to Live?

Exit West offers a provocative look at the choices people make when their cities succumb to extremist violence. Saeed and Nadia, who want to get on with their ordinary but romantic lives in an unnamed country, find their jobs lost, their families sundered, their homes threatened by the growing street violence around them. They choose to escape, finding themselves in one affluent Western country after another. They live in impoverished refugee areas, struggling to get by and to maintain their love.

The novel was beautifully written. Mohsin Hamid does a competent job reading his own work. His tone is flat, as if he were deliberately repressing his anger and even rage at the way the world is harming his honorable young characters.

But authors should not read their own works. A professional actor would have brought more energy, more subtlety and more feeling to the novel. Nevertheless, an excellent listening experience.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Taylor Miller
  • 2017-03-31

Great book, horrible narrator

I appreciate when authors want to narrate their own books, but at some point the sound engineer should have woke up from the coma this guy's voice probably put him in and suggest getting a professional. The entire reading is as droning and single note as can be, nothing is given emphasis or any kind of emotion at all. Every now and then the voice will start a sentence or even thr first bit of a paragraph a bit louder than normal as if he had gotten some sleep and was finally awake, but this never lasts and he quickly sinks back into the drone.
If you don't need the audio book, I highly recommend sticking with the print version and do this good book justice.

28 people found this helpful

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  • emankcin
  • 2017-04-11

very good

pace was a little slow but overall great book. really like that the story focuses on the young refugees relationship, not the political issues forcing them to leave their country.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-04-25

interesting for a while

I thought this book was interesting until about 3/4 of the way through when things just sort of fell apart for the characters. I was interested in the two main characters' journey and the refugee aspect, but then there was no climatic action, and it just sort of drifted to an end. the narration was ok, but the dialogue had no distinction, and it was sort of like just reciting the book.

10 people found this helpful

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  • KP
  • 2017-03-31

Notice the Doors

Exit West was beautifully written. It seemed like an allegory about immigration. Although Saeed and Nadia were the main immigrants, Hamid beautifully captured the experiences of just about ALL immigrants. It is his contention, in this book, that we ALL are immigrants in one sense or another. He demonstrates this by interspersing very short anecdotes that are unrelated to the main plot. These anecdotes seem to add up to a picture of the scope and variety of immigrants and immigration. A couple of these anecdotes didn’t really make much sense to me, but if I view them ALL as examples of immigration pure and simple, then a picture of the vastness of his definition for immigration emerges. In fact, it seems that almost any movement in space and through a door or portal could be construed as immigration according to Hamid. He uses the symbol of a door throughout the book to stand for various movements both in and out of any situation… thus immigration. This inclusivity serves to make the reader feel a part of the situation involving immigration in the world today, which is what I think Hamid was trying to do.

Not only does he do a good job of making the reader aware of the vastness of the immigration situation, he beautifully conveys male/female relationships through the progression of Saeed and Nadia’s partnership. His descriptions of their relationship are achingly beautiful, I thought. In fact , his descriptions of other relationships throughout the book are beautifully conveyed, as well.

It is a well written book that also carries a very timely message.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Larisa Pearlman
  • 2017-03-16

insightful

An insightful captivating glimpse of a brave new world with doors that almost instantaneously change life. A hopeful look at our world today.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Smittybball
  • 2018-01-29

Utter drivel

I can’t believe this book won the Booker prize. It started off with promise and I was intrigued about where the story would go but then it fell flat and got worse from there. The writing style was annoying.”he went up the mountain and she went up the mountain with him. He came down the mountain and she came down the mountain so they came down together”. It was a waste of time and of a credit.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Marie B
  • 2019-10-15

Such an intriguing idea for a plot

Maybe it was the author/narrator 's flat tone that kept me from getting on board with the plot yet it wasn't just the plot that kept from liking it, I just didn't find it very engaging. I could put it down too easily.

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  • Ron Mellencamp
  • 2017-04-04

Stirring, exquisitely written.

Lilting prose, wise insights into the human condition. juxtaposes unreconcilablecontradictions to great effect.

Pauses and teaches as he narrates.
Mr. Hamid: please keep writing!
With respect,
Marta Resnikov Reisman

8 people found this helpful

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  • jim
  • 2019-10-14

Did not live up to the hype

I had heard a lot of great things about this book but it really didn't live up to it. The characters and storyline are largely forgettable, and the fantasy element (which is what made the book sound unusual and special) was similarly a let down.

1 person found this helpful