Favourite Lines: ‘Exit West’ by Mohsin Hamid

Dear readers,

Isn’t it a beautiful moment when you read the first line of a book and connect with it instantly? I recently started reading Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, and within the first line, it somehow found its way onto my list of favourite books.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

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 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.

Exit West is the kind of book I can’t help but read as a writer more than a reader, admiring each carefully constructed sentence. Today I thought I would share with you a couple of my favourite lines, starting with the opening line.

 

In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, a young man met a young woman in class and did not speak to her.

– page 1

 

The following evening helicopters filled the sky like birds startled after a gunshot, or by the blow of an axe on the base of their tree.

– page 32

 

One’s relationship to windows now changed in the city.

– page 68

 

…but that is the way of things, for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.

– page 94

 

If you haven’t read Exit West, I strongly urge you to go pick up a copy! What are you reading at the moment? Please let me know in the comments below–I’m always looking for suggestions.

As always, thank you for being here.

Yours,

Tamara Drazic

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New Bookshelf Additions

I’ve been buying quite a few books lately, but I haven’t had the chance to do a lot of reading outside of my prescribed novels for University. I thought I’d write a post about the books on my shelf that I finally have time to read, and the books that I’ll hopefully be reviewing as soon as I go on winter break in June!

*In the Quiet, by Eliza Henry. I met this author at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival last year, and still haven’t gotten around to reading her debut novel. Main themes are love, loss, and grieving.

*House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. This book is a cult classic, confusing, multi P.O.V., over 700 page, insane, experimentally structured romance about an evil house. That’s what I’ve gathered so far, but it’s all very confusing.

*The Rehearsal, by Eleanor Catton. I’ve recently started working on a book with similar themes within a theatre setting, so I wanted to pick this up and read it to make sure I don’t steer my story too closely towards this one. It’s by the author of The Luminaries.

*The Dust that Falls from Dreams, by Louis de Bernieres. I bought this over a year ago and haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. All I know is that it’s about children in the Edwardian age as it disintegrates into the great war.

*Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. The 1000 page classic novel that my favourite musical is based off of. I really need to get around to reading this.

So they’re all of the novels that I’ve bought fairly recently and haven’t yet gotten around to reading. Have you read any of them? Which one should I read first?

Yours Sincerely,

Tamara Drazic

 

Thursday Quotables: “Behind the Beautiful Forevers”

Hi everyone,

I’m taking part in “Thursday Quotables” this week! It’s hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies, and it’s basically an activity that gets readers and writers to share their favourite quotes from the books they’re currently reading. All the contributors then link up to create a treasure trove of priceless quotes, and a whole new to-read list.

books0212tharoorThis week I’m reading “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo. It’s a beautifully written book of non fiction that explores life in a Mumbai slum, and it has some incredible quotes, particularly in Abdul’s dialogue. Here is one of my favourites, where Abdul is convincing his parents not to marry him off:

“I hear of this love so often that I think I know it, but I don’t feel it, and I myself don’t know why,” he fretted. “These people who love and then the girlfriend goes away-they cut their arms with a blade, they put a cigarette butt out in their hand, they won’t sleep, they won’t eat, they’ll sing-they must have different hearts than mine.”

He told his parents, “You don’t hold a hot iron in your palm, do you? You let it cool. You think on it slowly.”

I haven’t quite finished reading it, but I’m definitely planning on writing a review once I’m done. Let me know in the comments which quotes from which books have stayed with you long after you finished reading them; I’d love to hear them!

Yours sincerely,

Tamara Drazic