By removing the melodrama inherent in the refugee’s plight and replacing it with quotidian incidents picked out in vivid, evocative and highly astute prose, Mohsin Hamid elevates Exit West from a self-pitying weeper or a heart-wrenching invective into a sympathetic, beautifully wrought tale of two people propelled by events outside of their control who seize their own destinies. While offering a dim view of the future, it also comforts with a portrait of humanity’s resiliency.
If every marriage is a cozy mystery, then every divorce is a chilling thriller. For this dark era of paranoia and alternative facts, there is a brave new literary device: the divorce plot. In this novel permeated by suspicion and ambiguity, the reader’s evolving relationship with the narrator mirrors the increasing alienation and suspicion of a troubled marriage. A Separation ponders the death of a marriage, the enigmatic bond between author and reader, and the imbalance of power of unequal relationships, whether they be literary or romantic.