Exist West is a tale featuring two people who are trying to survive in a world outside of their own. In the beginning, their city is under control by a corrupt government and war is about to commence. Tensions is spread throughout the city as people begin to move out due to fear that they might die. This is the time when we’re introduced to Saeed and Nadia, our two main characters of the book. When Saeed and Nadia meet for the first time, Saeed asks Nadia if she wants to go on a date with him. She eventually says yes after declining him a couple times. They both loved it and Nadia began to grow a liking to Saeed. After her date, Saeed and Nadia formed into a relationship and that’s when the story begins to take off and grow more intense.
From their time dating in the city we begin to see some character development, get a taste what kind of person Saeed and Nadia were. Saeed was a man led by faith and religious morals. Not to mention that he was very caring and worried for the protection of Nadia who, at the time, was living by herself. Nadia was seen to be very cautious with men around her and preferred to live on her own. She even said that she wore her “all-concealing black robe” so “men don’t f*** with [her]” (16-17).
After Saeed’s mother’s death, Saeed and Nadia decide to leave their country. This was because of the continuous deaths that went on and the new harsh rules that were enacted. Saeed’s father forced them to leave while he stayed. After failing on multiple attempts to bring the father with them, Saeed and Nadia left him behind and went through a magical door that transported them to the country of Greece. That’s where their new life began.
One could say that this book serves as a immigrant travel guide and the process and hardships that immigrants have to face when entering a new country. When Nadia and Saeed entered through the door, it was like they were leaving their old lives behind and receiving new ones, symbolizing that in some scenarios you have to forget who you are and become reborn to get where you want to get in life. We not only see this in immigrants but also in people native to the land. Celebrities have sometimes had to do not so good things to get become famous. Political leaders have had to make bad choices that they knew would hurt just to keep themselves in power. Based on certain situations a person can be split into two. One that’s naturally them and the other, their fake persona.
Saeed and Nadia obtain new lives, living among others just like them. When time was longing and resources were depleting, both of them went into town seeking aid. Nadia was able to get help along with being able to find a way to escape their current location, Mykonos. Saeed and Nadia then agree to leave their new home and travel through the new doorway. Leaving their new lives behind again, the two arrive in London in hopes for a better life compared to the previous two.
They’re journey to a better life give us a type of representation of what it’s like in the shoes of an immigrant. The continuous journey of traveling, encountering officers, potential burglars, and other dangerous people along the way. The book is telling and showing us how hard an immigrants life is when they just want to be happy and live a good life.
One thought on “Exist West: An Immigrants Traveler’s Guide”
I think it is very interesting how you said that for someone to move on in life sometimes the individual has to forget your old life. I think Nadia had to do that in order to survive in her new life in San Fransisco. Whereas for Saeed, it was harder for him to distance himself from his homeland.