Ventnor Reading Group 21st March 2018

On a monthly basis we read books by a particular author, or a nominated genre, or a novel selected from the library reading group list.

For this meeting we read ‘Exit West’ by Mohsin Hamid.

For our next book purchase after several unforeseen problems we decided on ‘Exit West’ by Mohsin Hamid.

Its a very topical novel about a couple in a middle eastern city on the edge of civil war. When the conflict explodes the couple escape from the violence. They journey through Mykonos, London and Marin, California but it’s also about their emotional journey. Its a real page turner of a book: I couldn’t wait to read further. My only criticism is that the sentences are often over long but its a beautiful novel and strongly recommended.

This novel certainly stimulated one of the most interesting discussions the group has ever had in my memory.

One reader thought it lacked passion and stated it wasn’t as good as ‘The Fundamentalist’ by the same author.

Another thought it a novel of our time, the pain of leaving one’s own country well portrayed and mentioned the passing through doors as a stratagem for moving from one country to another.

Yet another reader spoke regarding the ‘doors’ concept and declared how fortunate we are in our society compared with Middle East countries racked by war and famine. On this level the book considers profound subject matter.

There were so many opinions so it would be difficult to mention them all but here goes:

  • the main female character Nadia has a strong character, is very intelligent and wants more out of life
  • on each move to another country the couple’s relationship changes slightly;
  • the man has traditional and strong family ties whilst the woman has a modern outlook
  • the novel considers in the future a total breakdown of society in London
  • the mobile phone is an essential part of Middle East city life
  • if you like a happy ending this is not for you but in a way it was the only realistic ending.
  • The majority of our readers thought it an excellent novel and well worth reading.
  • We meet again on the 18th April to discuss ‘Skandi Noir’ novels and at the same time have an informal Easter party.

We normally meet at 6 pm every third Wednesday of the month.

Roger Booth

April 3, 2018