Thursday, April 13, 2017

 Dear Great Book Guru,  We will be having our annual Family Duck Hunt (rubber duckys, of course) next week and I always like to have a new book to discuss with my erudite cousins and siblings. Do you have something short, relevant, and worthwhile to recommend?  Hunter of Ducks and Good Books

Dear Hunter of….. I just finished a strange but very moving novel by Mohsin Hamid EXIT WEST that you might want to discuss with your family.  Set in the 21st century, this short (220 pages) work introduces us to a young couple Nadia and Saeed, university students living in an undisclosed country (closely resembling Syria) that is on the brink of civil war. Their love for each other is described in poetic detail as the world they know begins to disappear in violence and chaos. Finally, they decide they must leave and here the novel takes a fantastical turn- think C.S. Lewis’s   "Chronicles of Narnia" where doors become portals into new worlds or Colson Whitehead’s “ Underground Railroad” where there are truly trains to freedom.  The young couple steps through appointed doors that lead them first to the Greek island of Mykonos, then to Vienna, on to London, and finally to California. In each of these places they experience great misery as  outcasts and  persecuted migrants.  Interspersed are brief portraits of other refugees in Sydney, Tijuana, Dublin,  Marrakesh… set in a future where everyone is displaced, everyone is in search of a homeland.   A hauntingly beautiful, provocative novel- recommended!

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