A Perfect, Failed Love Story

In Exit West the main characters, Saeed and Nadia fall in love. In fact they “stay together” even through the most horrific events. We as readers see their relationship flex and fray throughout the story with them not sleeping together and not showing affection. We as readers also expect them to find their love again at the end of the story. This is because we’ve been taught that happy endings should result from this type of romance.

Instead, Nadia leaves Saeed. I like this ending because it is much more realistic to life. But I also like how It was still a happy ending; Nadia falls in love with the cook and Saeed falls in love with the preacher’s daughter. In each situation, they found something in their new relationship they realized they had lacked in their previous relationship.

You do not have only one shot at love, with each romance we have, we learn what makes us happy and change our expectations for the future.

7 thoughts on “A Perfect, Failed Love Story

  1. Monty E

    I agree with you, Simone. Books, along with other forms of pop culture promote one “happy ending” to every relationship. This is not realistic for anyone. In this case, one relationship that began very happy does not work out but leads to other happy relationships. In addition, it shows how just because a relationship doesn’t have a “happy ending” doesn’t mean that those people can’t reconnect as Nadia and Saeed do many years later in the last chapter.


  2. Maximus B

    I shipped Saeed and Nadia heavily since they were so different. Although, they were growing further and further apart as the novel progressed especially after they left their homeland. I liked how you thought it was a realistic ending.


  3. mayap

    This comment is so interesting. I think that your take on the ending is a really mature and sophisticated one, and one that makes a lot of sense. I think the idea that people have more chances at relationships than may seem is a good thing for people to believe in.


  4. JENNA S

    I like your comment on how the reader expects Nadia and Saeed to end the book together due to our familiarity with “happy endings.” I liked the ending as Hamid didn’t write much into their separate futures but includes them meeting up again in their hometown. Even after they shared such a dynamic, tragic, and relieving adventure together, they still split ways for the better.


  5. julianbradford

    I completely agree with this, and I’m glad the book showed the more real aspect of love and relationships. I never really thought about how different the book would be if Nadia and Saeed stayed together and lived “happily ever after”, but I’m glad that’s not how it ended up.


  6. Lily D

    I totally agree. For some reason it almost made the book better that they didn’t end up together. It would annoy me if they were to have all those issues and then magically be okay again.


  7. Kirsten K

    I think the way the book ended showed reality in life and not just a perfect love story and how everything works out. It shows that people can fall in and out of love.


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