2018 Book Selection
Each year, first-year students at Connecticut College engage in a shared summer reading along with their faculty, staff, and student advisers. The 2018 selection is Exit West, the fourth novel of the celebrated Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid.
Exit West tells the story of Nadia and Saeed, lovers in an unnamed country that falls under the grip of a violent civil war. Forced to flee, they begin a harrowing journey that takes them to many different temporary places of refuge. Over the course of their migration, the author’s most central focus is on the psychological consequences of their flight – how it shifts the dynamics of their relationship, how they cope with the devastating loss of their former lives, how they must re-make themselves in the new worlds they inhabit. Exit West is an allegorical novel with touches of magical realism that provides a universal message about what migration can teach us about the meaning of home, memory, and human resilience.
Please visit "External Resources" to read book reviews about Exit West and videos of interviews with the author.
Author Mohsin Hamid was born in Lahore, Pakistan. He has studied at Princeton University and Harvard Law School and has worked as management consultant. He is the author of four novels, Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and Exit West, and a book of essays, Discontent and Its Civilizations. He is the recipient of many prizes and awards, including the Aspen Woods Literary Prize for Exit West. Hamid has also been shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and twice for the Man Booker Prize. He resides between Lahore, New York, and London.
As part of the One Book, One Region initiative of New London County, author Mohsin Hamid will visit campus to discuss his work on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m., in Palmer Auditorium.
2017 Book Selection
Each year, first-year students at Connecticut College engage in a shared summer reading along with their faculty, staff, and student advisers. The 2017 selection is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, a multi-generational novel that traces the legacy of the African slave trade through the lives of two half-sisters and their descendants.
Although the novel moves forward in time, crossing centuries and continents, it is ultimately a work of retrospective exploration. It challenges the reader to see that insight into our contemporary society and our own identities inevitably lies in grasping the realities of how our ancestors lived. In Ghana in the 18th century, two sisters are separated and raised in different villages. One is taken in marriage by a wealthy English slave trader. The other is sold into slavery and transported to America. Across eight generations, the tendrils of racism weave through the lives of their descendants right up to the present time.
We highly suggest this video in which Gyasi discusses the novel and its main characters.
The author Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a bachelor of arts in English from Stanford University and a master’s in fine arts from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in New York City. Gyasi’s debut novel was selected in 2016 for the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35" Award, the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award for best first book and the PEN/ Hemingway Award. It also was named a New York Times Notable Book.