We hope that these questions will help you think deeply as you read Exit West and prepare to write your essay to your advising team.
- The name of the city where Saeed and Nadia meet and live is never revealed in Exit West. Why do you think the author made the choice to describe it as a city “swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war?” The names of the places they reach through the doors are identified. Why?
- How do Nadia and Saeed each develop unique aspects of themselves as they meet the challenges of their exile? How do their contrasting forms of coping pull them apart and change their relationship? Do you identify more with Nadia's or Saeed's personal journey and transformation?
- Do you see memory in the novel as an affirmation of what they have lost from their homeland or do you see it as holding them back from the necessary growth that their new worlds require?
- Why do you think the author Mosin Hamid includes intermittent stories of random people throughout the novel?
- Do you accept the "magic realism" of the novel - entering the closet as a way to escape to the next potential refuge - or do you find it an artificial device that detracts from the story? Why do you think the author elected to employ this literary approach?
- The novel conveys a sense of a gathering deluge of displaced people from around the world. To what extent are we now facing such a worldwide crisis? What are some of the causes for the extraordinary number of exiles and refugees in our world today? Do you have any thoughts about what we need to do to address this problem?
- Are there any concrete ways that Nadia's and Saeed's struggles with exile are relevant to your own life? Have you had any contract with refuge or displaced families? Is there any history of forced migration or escape from persecution in your own family history?