The backdrop for “Exit West” is both the plight of refugees from places like Syria and the specter of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. Hamid takes full advantage of our familiarity with these scenes to turn “Exit West” into an urgent account of war, love and refugees. Politics also matters as it does in his other novels, which likewise dealt with pressing issues: the troubles of contemporary Pakistan (“Moth Smoke”); 9/11 and the tensions between being Pakistani and American (“The Reluctant Fundamentalist”); and naked capitalism and ambition in an unnamed country (“How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia”).
On this week’s podcast, Hamid talks about “Exit West”; Gillian Thomas discusses Marjorie J. Spruill’s “Divided We Stand”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Parul Sehgal, Gregory Cowles and John Williams on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
Here are the books mentioned in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:
“Patrimony” by Philip Roth
“Conundrum” by Jan Morris
“Destiny of the Republic” by Candice Millard
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