page 96 of 231 of Exit West

Saeed’s father also wishes to remain rather than become a refugee because “Your mother is here”, which she is in a way, but also in time as in she is there in the past, just as her bones are there in the present, and where he will be in the future regardless of his opportunity to leave. Even facing death many people will not leave their home, it takes something extraordinary to force them to leave.

He creates the image of graves built atop the graves of our parents, “the arc of a child’s life only appears for a while to match the arc of a parent’s, in reality one sits atop the other, a hill atop a hill, a curve atop a curve”. He’s not just speaking about the arcs of life, but of death because an arc has two points, a beginning and an end, but it’s only in arc in relation to another arc or straight line.