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BOOK CLUB BUNDLES

Hi, I’m Lauren. The Library will provide books for your book club. Our book club bundles include 10 copies of the same title, along with a discussion guide. Check out available bundles when visiting the Library, or fill out the form below! Patrons can reserve book club bundles up to six months in advance. Our book club bundles are stored on the second floor for the public to browse and check out. Contact us at bookclub@gpld.org or call us at 630-232-0780 if you have questions.


Exit West

by Mohsin Hamid

GENRE: Literary Fiction

Young couple Nadia and Saaed are forced to flee their homeland as civil war breaks out. They must travel through a series of portals in search of a new place to call home, all the while looking to satisfy basic needs and successfully navigate complex new environments. A spellbinding meditation on the refugee experience, and the value of every human life.

Download Discussion Guide

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author biography

Mohsin Hamid is the author of four novels -- Moth SmokeThe Reluctant FundamentalistHow to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and Exit West -- and a book of essays, Discontent and Its Civilizations.

His writing has been translated into forty languages, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema.

Born in Lahore, he has spent about half his life there and much of the rest in London, New York, and California.  - Author's website

More titles by this author.

reviews

Booklist

/* Starred Review */ In an unnamed city with strict social mores, young Nadia is a rebel, an atheist who chooses to live and work independently. In religious and unassuming Saeed she finds the perfect companion. As the two fall in love, their romance is tinged with a sense of urgency and inevitability as the city falls to militia, and basic freedoms and food quickly become rarities. When the situation turns dire, Saeed and Nadia decide to migrate as thousands already have and cobble together every last bit of their savings to find safe passage out. Caught in the whirlpool of refugees from around the world, Saeed and Nadia are tossed around like flotsam, the necessity of survival binding them together more than any starry-eyed notion of romance ever could. If at times the story of refugees facing no easy choice feels derivative, Hamid (How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, 2013) smooths over such wrinkles with spellbinding writing and a story of a relationship that sucks its own marrow dry for sustenance. The concept of the door is a powerful, double-edged metaphor here, representing a portal leading to a promised land that when closed, however, condemns one to fates from which there is no escape. -- Apte, Poornima (Reviewed 12/15/2016) (Booklist, vol 113, number 8, p14)

Publisher's Weekly

Hamid’s (The Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia) trim yet poignant fourth novel addresses similar themes as his previous work and presents a unique perspective on the global refugee crisis. In an unidentified country, young Saeed and burqa-wearing Nadia flee their home after Saeed’s mother is killed by a stray bullet and their city turns increasingly dangerous due to worsening violent clashes between the government and guerillas. The couple joins other migrants traveling to safer havens via carefully guarded doors. Through one door, they wind up in a crowded camp on the Greek Island of Mykonos. Through another, they secure a private room in an abandoned London mansion populated mostly by displaced Nigerians. A third door takes them to California’s Marin County. In each location, their relationship is by turns strengthened and tested by their struggle to find food, adequate shelter, and a sense of belonging among emigrant communities. Hamid’s storytelling is stripped down, and the book’s sweeping allegory is timely and resonant. Of particular importance is the contrast between the migrants’ tenuous daily reality and that of the privileged second- or third-generation native population who’d prefer their new alien neighbors to simply disappear. Agent: Jay Mandel, WME Entertainment. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed 01/02/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 01, p)

Library Journal

/* Starred Review */ "We are all migrants through time," observes Man Booker Prize short-lister Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist). The impulses driving such a movement, especially when rooted in violent conflict, is at the core of Hamid's exceptional fourth novel. In an unnamed city (not unlike the author's native Lahore, Pakistan), Saeed and Nadia meet, find love, and expect to share a future, but a militant takeover forces them to flee their homeland. Hamid reveals their tenuous journey from a dreamlike distance that perfectly blends reality with fablelike parable. For example, escape happens through "doors" only accessible via the right contact at the right price. While focusing the narrative spotlight on his lovers-on-the-run, Hamid regularly interrupts the couple's peregrinations with snapshot interludes—a potential murder in Tokyo, a woman threatened in Vienna, an aging grandmother in Palo Alto—that serve as reminders that life (and death) continues for everyone else, everywhere else, every which way. Both mellifluous and jarring, this novel is a profound meditation on the unpredictable temporality of human existence and the immeasurable cost of widespread enmity. VERDICT Libraries would do well to acquire this and all of Hamid's extraordinary titles. [See Prepub Alert, 9/12/16.]—Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC --Terry Hong (Reviewed 02/01/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 1, p70)

readalikes

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

by Christy Lefteri

A beekeeper and his artist wife have their lives upended and must flee after war destroys their home in Aleppo, Syria, and they set off on a dangerous journey through Turkey and Greece, towards an uncertain future in England.

A Particular Kind of Black Man

by Tope Folarin

A Rhodes Scholar and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing offers a novel about a Nigerian family living in Utah and their uncomfortable assimilation into American life.

The Stationery Shop

by Marjan Kamali

A young couple who meet and fall in love at a neighborhood stationery shop in 1953 Tehran are separated by a violent coup d'etat on the eve of their marriage and reunite by chance after more than half a century.