What country are Saeed and Nadia from?

While Hamid explicitly identifies the different countries to which Saeed and Nadia migrate, he never offers a clear answer as to what their country of origin is. Omitting this detail allows him to give the narrative a level of universality, making it possible for the reader to imagine that the brewing violence in their country could occur anywhere. This level of ambiguity works to challenge any preconceived notions about what it truly means to be a migrant, and throughout the novel, Hamid ultimately suggests that migration is a shared human experience. 

What do the doors symbolize?

In addition to adding an element of fantasy to an otherwise realistic world, the magic doors that appear throughout the novel represent the concept of open borders. Hamid is able to explore the real-world impacts of open borders by including this symbolic element, and he implies that the freedom of movement that the doors allow can offer significant benefits to individuals. Individual countries, however, perceive this rapid globalization as a threat to their nationhood and attempt to regulate the use of the doors as a result. This dynamic essentially becomes a representation of the tense migration politics which characterize the twenty-first century.

What role does technology play in the novel?

Hamid very clearly situates his narrative in the twenty-first century through his continual references to cell phones and social media. While Saeed and Nadia have different relationships with technology, their phones inevitably allow them to stay in contact with each other and the world at large. Technology metaphorically decreases the distance between people and contributes to globalization, making it a powerful source of information in a constantly evolving world. In addition to emphasizing the empowering nature of technology, Hamid also makes a point to illustrate how it can become a weapon. Cutting off electricity, for example, prevents individuals from accessing information and allows authority figures to maintain control over the migrants.