Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.
“Everybody is a migrant,” says the novelist Mohsin Hamid. In this episode, Miwa Messer interviews the award-winning author of pathbreaking works of fiction like Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, about his celebrated new novel Exit West, which combines a modern love story, a quirky fable, and a wryly hopeful look at the possibilities for a world in which borders are not walls. They begin the conversation with a lesson from Douglas Adams, about the secret of flying.
In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .
Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
Click here to see all books by Mohsin Hamid.
Photo of Mohsin Hamid by Jillian Edelstein