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Author Mohsin Hamid
Type of work Novel
Genre Fabulism; political fiction
Time and place written Lahore, Pakistan, mid-2010s.
Date of first publication 2017
Publisher Penguin Publishing Group
Narrator The anonymous narrator tells the story as if speaking aloud to another person, occasionally offering an opinion on events or philosophical commentary.
Point of view
The unnamed narrator speaks in the third person omnisciently, describing the innermost thoughts, feelings, and motivations of every character.
Tone Philosophical, tense, sorrowful, hopeful
Tense Past tense
Setting (time) Unspecified, but a time in the near future of the book’s publication in 2017
Setting (place) An unknown city; Mykonos, Greece; London, England; Marin, California
Protagonist Saeed and Nadia
Major conflict The major conflict concerns lovers Saeed and Nadia travelling through a mysterious magic door to escape their war-torn city and becoming refugees, the stress of which tests their relationship.
Rising action Saeed and Nadia meet and date in an increasingly unstable city. They depart through a mysterious door. Saeed’s grief over leaving his father causes him to lose patience with Nadia. Throughout London, their different philosophies and ways of coping with the newness of their surroundings clash, and the struggle in their relationship.
Climax Nadia and Saeed leave London for Marin, and it becomes clear to them both that peace and stability are not enough to save their relationship and they are irreparably moving apart.
Falling action With space to explore, Nadia and Saeed grow farther apart from each other, and eventually Nadia decides she needs to leave before they actually start to dislike each other.
Themes Migration; The Danger of Nationalism; Mortality
Motifs Surveillance; Religion; Power Outages
Symbols The doors; Cell Phones; Nadia’s Robe
Foreshadowing The narrator often makes explicit references to future events as opposed to foreshadowing, such as in the early chapters when s/he emphasizes the magnitude of the coming violence by mentioning who will die soon. The first anecdote about the doors prefigures the danger Saeed and Nadia will face as refugees. When Saeed’s father makes Nadia promise not to leave Saeed until he’s safe, it foreshadows their eventual break up.