Better Off Read is a book club collaboration between Her Bookshop and The Porch, focusing on books that you'll definitely be better off having read.
In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.
Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
WINNER OF THE 2018 LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR FICTION and THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE
10 BEST BOOKS OF 2017, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
FINALIST FOR THE 2017 MAN BOOKER PRIZE, THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS, and THE KIRKUS AWARD
“Hamid exploits fiction’s capacity to elicit empathy and identification to imagine a better world. It is also a possible world. Exit West does not lead to utopia, but to a near future and the dim shapes of strangers that we can see through a distant doorway. All we have to do is step through it and meet them.”—Viet Thanh Nguyen, The New York Times Book Review
“Hamid’s timely and spare new novel confronts the inevitability of mass global immigration, the unbroken cycle of violence and the indomitable human will to connect and love.”—Huffington Post
“Hamid rewrites the world as a place thoroughly, gorgeously, and permanently overrun by refugees and migrants. . . . But, still, he depicts the world as resolutely beautiful and, at its core, unchanged. The novel feels immediately canonical, so firm and unerring is Hamid’s understanding of our time and its most pressing questions.”--NewYorker.com
“No novel is really about the cliche called ‘the human condition,’ but good novels expose and interpret the particular condition of the humans in their charge, and this is what Hamid has achieved here. If in its physical and perilous immediacy Nadia and Saeed’s condition is alien to the mass of us, Exit West makes a final, certain declaration of affinity: ‘We are all migrants through time.’”—Washington Post
Better Off Read is a book club with an added twist: an optional writing exercise for interested participants to complete before the event. The writing prompt for this book: Describe a time you were displaced, a stranger in a strange land (if even metaphorically). This can be fiction, nonfiction, or a hybrid of the two. Again, this part is completely optional, and those who wish may share what they’ve written at the end of the meeting.
When: Sunday, July 22, 2018, 4:30 to 6:00 pm
Where: Her Bookshop (1043 West Eastland Ave.)
How Much: $18 + tax. Each participant will receive one paperback copy of Exit West, available for pickup at the shop. Wine and treats will be served, and participants will also receive 10% off purchases at Her Bookshop the day of the event.
Sorry to disappoint, but all spots for this meeting have been claimed. We do have a wait list, though. Just pop by the shop, purchase the book, and let us know you want to be added to the list. We'll be in touch if we get word that someone's not able to make it.
Previous BETTER OFF READ Books
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell (May 20, 2018)
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (March 18 & 25, 2018)
Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (January 7 & 14, 2018)
Broken River by J. Robert Lennon (October 22, 2017)
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman (August 6, 2017)
Stoner by John Williams (May 21, 2017)
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (March 19, 2017)
Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton (January 22, 2017)
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (October 30, 2016)
Better Off Read is a collaboration between Her Bookshop and The Porch, Nashville’s independent center for writing.