You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Magical novel makes readers think about struggles of refugees


Recommended reading

“Exit West: A Novel” by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books). The author of “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” and “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia” goes full-on magical realist in this exceptional novel, as two young lovers, Saeed and Nadia, meet in an unnamed city. They text, they hang out, they start building a life. But they must flee as war comes to their home. Except here, they use magic doors (think “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”), which offers a genuine bit of impossibility folded into the everyday horror and surrealism of life during wartime. As genre conventions mix with literary fiction mix with the reported mix with the mythic, “Exit West” is animated by the finest prose of Hamid’s career. Sadly, this novel couldn’t be better timed, as we as a planet are in the middle of the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II. But it is also animated by hope, a prayer in prose that people whose lives are not immediately touched by war can find some empathy for those who have and welcome them into their communities. We are all one bad government decision away from being migrants and refugees. All of us, always.

— Joe Gross

Book events this week

Will Schwalbe. 7 p.m. Monday. The New York Times bestselling author speaks and signs “Books for Living.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz. 7 p.m. Tuesday. The young adult author speaks and signs “The Inexplicable Logic of My Life.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Danielle Paige. 7 p.m. Wednesday. The young adult author speaks and signs “The End of Oz.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Sarah Andersen. 7 p.m. Friday. The cartoonist and illustrator speaks and signs “Big Mushy Happy Lump.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Insight and Books

Commentary: House’s approval of Senate Bill 4 is step back for Texas
Commentary: House’s approval of Senate Bill 4 is step back for Texas

I am from Mission, a town right on the border that was built on the backs of immigrants. To people from Mission and border areas throughout Texas, undocumented immigrants are our family members, friends and classmates. That is why today is a sad day for the people of Mission and Texas as a whole. Senate Bill 4, the bill to eliminate sanctuary cities...
Commentary: A historian’s take on Trump’s presidency so far
Commentary: A historian’s take on Trump’s presidency so far

On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president, pundits predicted one of two things: either Trump would “blow up” the presidency — as he promised during his campaign and pursue a radical agenda — or he would moderate and “play by the rules,” as Republican Party leaders hoped. Trump has done neither...
Herman: Texas Legislature mulls ‘experiential dinners’ bill, aka beer
Herman: Texas Legislature mulls ‘experiential dinners’ bill, aka beer

I realize that by being an obnoxious prohibitionist (is there any other kind?) I’m probably missing out on some things in life, such as the joy of swirling a wine glass while saying things like, “flaccid, yet horny.” (Thanks to the late, great Robin Williams for that one.) And, it turns out, all law-abiding Texans (is there any other...
Opinion: Is Macron the EU’s last best hope?

For the French establishment, Sunday’s presidential election came close to a near-death experience. As the Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo, it was a “damn near-run thing.” Neither candidate of the two major parties that have ruled France since Charles De Gaulle even made it into the runoff, an astonishing repudiation of France&rsquo...
Commentary: Urge lawmakers to restore transparency in Texas government
Commentary: Urge lawmakers to restore transparency in Texas government

There’s no question that Americans — particularly Texans — are increasingly suspicious of government. Trust in government is at a dangerously low level. That’s why virtually every candidate who runs for the Texas Legislature loudly proclaims that he or she is all for transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, campaign season...
More Stories