Tag Archives: Book Club

Review: Exit West

Exit West

Exit West
By Moshin Hamid
Riverhead Books, 9780735212206, February 2018, 256pp.

The Short of It:

Not at all what I was expecting.

The Rest of It:

When my book club selected this book several months ago at our yearly selection meeting, I was eager to read it because of all the reviews I had read but I skimmed those reviews because I didn’t want to know too much about it.

Well, I have to tell you that the story is very unique. In an unnamed, war-torn country, two people meet. Nadia is more head-strong and determined and Saeed is more soft-spoken and sincere but the two marry and find themselves transported to other countries as they try to escape the current war zone they are in. They move from country to country by going through doors, sometimes guarded, sometimes not.

It took me a little while to realize that they were actually going from country to country by these doors. Yes, it’s very “Narnia” and to be honest, I didn’t love this fantastical element. However, after discussing it with the group, I do understand the author’s choice to use it as a means to convey their immediate situation. It would be difficult to enter into a country and not know the language or to be hated, instantly, upon your arrival. Open the door, step through and immediately find yourselves in an uncomfortable situation.

Given the current state of the country I live in, I feel that the author did a good job of raising our awareness without shoving it down our throats. It hit all of us while discussing the book that the immigration issue is only going to get worse as people flee their countries out of desperation.

In the end, this was not a “fun” or entertaining read but it’s not a dark or depressing read either. The author keeps it somewhat light but it’s definitely a story that stays with you.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: The Immortalists

The Immortalists

The Immortalists
By Chloe Benjamin
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735213180, January 2018, 352pp.

The Short of It:

Would knowing the date of your death change the way you live?

The Rest of It:

The Immortalists asks you to push your disbelief aside in order to ask yourself that very question and for many readers I think this is impossible to do. I, however, had no problem suspending my disbelief for the sake of the story.

After the encouragement of their older brother Daniel, Varya, Klara and Simon head to a fortune-teller who provides each of the four siblings with the date of their death. This is particularly concerning to young Simon, because he’s told that he will die very young. Klara, is also told that she will die fairly young. Knowing this information, the two take off for San Francisco in their teens so they can live their lives to the fullest but what follows is a tragic host of events which ultimately affect their lives and the lives of their siblings.

The Immortalists is not a perfect story. Nor is it executed all that well but I did find myself liking Simon’s story quite a bit. As a young gay, Jewish man, the responsibility of running his father’s tailor shop for the rest of his life proved too much for him. I feel that of all the siblings, Simon’s story was the most realistic and yes, the most tragic. I would have been just fine had the entire story been about Simon but that was not the case.

All in all, the other stories didn’t fit together well but I still enjoyed the lead-up, except for some very convenient plot lines. As a book club pick, some liked it, many didn’t but we still had a decent discussion.

Would you want to know the date of your death? Personally, I would not want to know mine.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.