Daily Archives: October 10, 2019

page 118 of 231 of Exit West

Even when they do meet someone kind, I feel as if all our defenses are up and so our first reaction is to not trust the young volunteer who cares for Nadia’s arm injury. But even with how bad things have gotten they found a moment of kindness, at least for Nadia and the girl – we don’t know who Saeed feels about this. And then they do get to another door, but it feels like it won’t be to anywhere better.

page 113 of 231 of Exit West

“The Island of the Winds” lives up to its name by blowing his acquaintance and Saeed together, but of course it all turns out to be a scam. The lemon tree’s leaves wither a little more and Saeed and Nadia are more miserable now than they were back home and no amount of temporary happiness or laughter is going to change that they will soon perhaps turn their backs on each other the same way the now sleep back to back

page 110 of 231 of Exit West

It’s frustrating how easy it is to manipulate a social situation these days – in this chapter the militants cause violence in a country where the refugees have gone in order to turn public opinion against the refugees. The public will only see the violence and blame the refugees for it and then everyone will take sides and very few people will be in the middle trying to erase the border.

page 109 of 231 of Exit West

“They were each at the crest of the hill only briefly, and at different times”. They both see something different, and neither sees each other – at least not the same way they did. Perhaps Hamid is saying that when you remove a person from their home it changes who they are as a person. It’s like if you grew up speaking another language, your worldview would be different because language, like place, shapes you.

page 107 of 231 of Exit West

Mykonos is also known as ‘The Island of the Winds’, so perhaps it’s fitting Saeed & Nadia emerged there, like a leaf blown on the wind, perhaps the last of their lemon three’s leaves blown all the way to a place that “was pretty safe … except when it was not”.

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be a refugee, to have no where to go, nowhere to go back to (except probably death). To be Foreign everywhere.

Saeed and Nadia being opposites is coming into sharper contrast now that they are in the refugee camp. He seems to be growing bitter and a consuming sense of guilt, whereas she seems to be taking things in a practical stride. He can’t connect over the phone to his father, she connects right away to her friends over social media. She tries to kiss him, he turns his head.

page 104 of 231 of Exit West

Time collapses, it “felt equally like a beginning and an end”, “was both like dying and like being born,” a moment that is somehow enlarged, like a kinked hose where there is not going forward in time and no going back, just an ever expanding present. This is the time of the refugee – no past, no future, just trapped in a kink of time with only memories behind them and hope in front of them.

A letter is a joy of Earth

4 Cent Pony Express Centennial, 1960, United States Post Office
Background Image: 4 Cent Pony Express Centennial, 1960, United States Post Office

I love what she’s saying about us mortals being surprised with “joy” by a letter with news from somewhere and someone we’ve been awaiting news from. The “Gods” are omnipotent so they don’t need to send a “Letter,” but our mortal ignorance “is a joy” because a “Letter” says someone has thought of us and when we learn this it makes us happy.