In an unnamed city, Nadia and Saeed meet and fall in love. As a civil war erupts around them, they flee their homeland. Author Mohsin Hamid uses doors as a way to transport people from one destination to the next, infusing the novel with a hint of magical realism. Exit West (2017) is a contemporary bittersweet love story and a war story from the refugee perspective.
After I finished this brief (160 pages), unexpected, quirky gem of the book, I didn't have the words to describe it. Long after I finished Convenience Store Woman (2018) by Sayaka Murata, I kept thinking about it. This offbeat, moving story follows 36-year-old Keiko, who has spent half her life working at a convenience store. She’s content with her life.
Crossroads (2021) is the first novel I’ve read by Jonathan Franzen, an author who made a big splash when his first novel, The Corrections, was released, just over twenty years ago now. Franzen has gone on to write other popular novels (with single word titles), including Freedom and Purity, along with multiple essay collections.
Tin Man (2018) is a slim volume packed full with beauty and emotion. It's a story about love - young love, first love, friendship, hidden love, lost love and all the heartbreak that ensues. It's a coming-of-age story of two young boys who find solace in each other after the loss of and rejection from their parents. It's a bittersweet study of loneliness, grief and acceptance.
After his grandfather's death, a young man must prove how deep his love of books really is when a strange cat asks for his help to save books that are being abused. As the young man journeys with the cat, he not only finds the courage to stand up to the adversaries that bar his path, but also to start living life again.
Well, I did it: I read one of the first works of “Pandemic Fiction” by a North American author. Too soon, you ask, for any author to do justice to the subject? Too soon to read about the last two complex and challenging years, laced with so much tragedy, especially as we’re not exactly out of the woods yet? I wondered too.
4 out of 5 Stars
“He had suddenly begun to have a sense that the reason he wanted the escape was not only in order to sacrifice thirty thousand on it and thus heal his scar, but also for some other reason. 'Is it because within my soul I am a murderer, too?' He had started to wonder. Something distant but burning had stung his soul.”