Full title  Exit West

Author Mohsin Hamid

Type of work Novel

Genre Fabulism; political fiction

Language English

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.