Usually, if my opinion about a book changes as I read it, it tends to go from ‘not sure’ to ‘hey, this is actually really good!’. Mohsin Hamid’s “Exit West” was exactly the opposite. If I’d stopped about half way through and been asked to rate it at that point, 4 stars, no issue.
But if it had started as it finished, I might not even have got through it at all.
Once the protagonists had ‘escaped’, all the tension seemed to go out of the book, and it became quite flat and dull. The monotone style – with a lack of variety and dialogue – didn’t really help either.
Whether you agree with him or not – or share Hamid’s vision of a dystopia future – there are certainly some big political messages in here about what it means to be a migrant, and some profound observations about relationships too.
Overall, I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads – which because of the ending actually felt a little generous. But the opening half is really good…