Book Review - Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid follows a relationship as it runs its course. Nadia and Saeed met as their country was on the brink of a civil war - forcing their relationship to move faster and in different ways than it might have under ordinary circumstances. The book explores themes of love, romance, relationships, family, and war.
I listened to this book on Audible which always adds a layer of complexity to my reviews. It is very possible that I don't like a book because of the performance of the reader - or maybe I like a book better than I would have because it was performed so well by the reader. This book was performed by the author himself and reminded me intensely of Ernest Hemingway. I'm not sure if it was the writing style or the way in which it was performed, but I suspect it was both. The reading voice of the author reminded me a lot of Corey Stoll's version of Hemingway in Midnight in Paris (see clip below).
But the sentence structure also reminded me quite a bit of Hemingway - extremely long sentences made choppy with ample use of commas, but somehow also rhythmic and poetic. And lets not forget the insane use of "and" - take these quotes for example,
“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
When he prayed he touched his parents, who could not otherwise be touched, and he touched a feeling that we are all children who lose our parents, all of us, every man and woman and boy and girl, and we too will all be lost by those who come after us and love us, and this loss unites humanity, unites every human being, the temporary nature of our being-ness, and our shared sorrow, the heartache we each carry and yet too often refuse to acknowledge in one another, and out of this Saeed felt it might be possible, in the face of death, to believe in humanity's potential for building a better world.”
― Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
See what I mean? I'm not alone here, am I? Their styles are similar! Sometimes it is difficult to get past that kind of writing. I happen to be a fan of the style but it takes a lot more concentration to piece sentences and meaning together.
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