Towards the end of Exit West, Hamid introduces a new character, an old woman from Palo Alto. The old woman has lived in the same house in Palo Alto her whole life and as she sees Palo Alto change over time, she starts to feel like an outsider.
The community has changed so much that she doesn’t really leave her house. She feels like a migrant in the town she’s lived in her whole life. She’s seen new people move in and out of her neighborhood and doesn’t even bother trying to get to know them anymore. She loses her sense of belonging in the community. She compares this to the exclusion that comes with being a migrant. She has migrated through time.
I like how Hamid creates a connection between everyone. Migrants or not. It breaks down the traditional power dynamic that others migrants by pointing out something migrants and “natives” have in common.