My friend Caroline drags me along (sarcasm, it's my highlight of each month) to incredibly dreamy bookclubs that are well curated + make me read things I would never pick up on my own, LIKE EXIT WEST. Lately I have noticed that I rarely not obsessed with what I am reading and hardly turn one away (or maybe my friends reading the same books have bad taste + I am always rallying for one they think is a dud) and I hope it's not muddying down my suggestions, but this one- umph, talk about a keeper.
I have this beautiful habit of waiting until the 72 hours (max) before a bookclub to start the required reading because I feel it will make me love the book even more if I binge on it. I was skeptical at first if I loved Exit West so much because of my weird habitual rule or if I truly loved it for all the great reasons like its amazing character development (SO UNIQUE, SO HEARTBREAKING!) and the fantastic travel log with amazing cultural exposure (MYKONOS, MARIN, LONDON, come on).
You can read all the articles about how critically acclaimed it is and the outline of the plot, but I'll tell you this: combine a war country with a tiny dash of the rebel-version-of-Handmaids-Tale, add the relationship complexity of Patti Smith's Just Kids or Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, throw in a distant dream about Narnia, and you have one smart and incredible book. Obviously, I strongly suggest it, I miss it already.
“While they wished to look out for each other, and to keep tabs on each other, staying in touch took a toll on them, serving as an unsettling reminder of a life not lived, and also they grew less worried each for the other, less worried that the other would need them to be happy, and eventually a month went by without any contact, and then a year, and then a lifetime.”
― Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
Exit West is out in hardback right now and runs 231 pages, I split it up in two solid sit throughs. Here is a great article in the New York Times giving it a thumbs up, and its fantastic for a bookclub that doesn't read fluff. Hope you enjoy it!