I chose to read this book because I saw it on the to-read list of a baseball player I really like, Sean Doolittle. Doolittle is a very good player and someone who is known for being an even better person. He is also considered one of the most, let’s say intellectual, players in baseball and maybe sports as a whole. He attended the University of Virginia, in my home state, so I’ve always felt an affinity for Doolittle. He posted a picture of his current to-do list and baseball analyst Keith Law, another favorite of mine, and Law tweeted that he really enjoyed it as well. Law has long written blog posts that reviewed books and board games in addition to his baseball expertise which is centered on using advanced statistics, which is also a major reason I am in the job I have now.
Exit West is the story of two people, Saeed and Nadia, who meet and fall in love during civil upheaval and the war that follows. They live in a place that to me seemed like Syria, but it is never mentioned and is not really that important. The relationship shared between Nadia and Saeed changes as their own situation changes. In many ways, it is no different that the relationship between any two people anywhere. The war and turmoil, and I do not mean to discredit or demean either, forces changes but that happens to everyone with nearly every relationship. The only thing that really changes is the sense of urgency provided by their scenario. I think that the juxtaposition of their love for each and the war taking place all around them highlights the beauty of what they share while adding a sense of impending dread of things that may come. It pressures them and rushes them and forces them to change and as the reader I felt the pressure that Nadia and Saeed must have felt to make it work.
This is a short book that you should absolutely read, no qualifiers, just read it.