The story of Exit West was one of the most interesting that I have read, as it was both an introduction into the genre of realistic fantasy and also that it seemed to so perfectly reflect life in ways that many other books fail to accomplish. In reading the last few pages of the book we learn that Nadia and Saeed drift apart and eventually become their own people and normally this would be considered a sad ending as the two lovers split apart and go separate ways but I think the way the book it written it is all about finding your own way in order to live a life that is best for you. This relates to the even bigger theme around the book which is migration and that is isn’t alway about the story but rather what you do with your life. As Nadia and Saeed separate they become more and more themselves discovering what it is they really want to do and how they want to live their lives, this relates to that topic of migration as while the story of the people is relevant it is less about that and more about the fact that as people they want to start a life where they are that is not home but rather that they are in a new place and would like for that to be a new life. While sometimes migration is about escaping the old it is also about starting new and why would you leave somewhere just to live the same life twice?
Just about everyone has had an existential crisis by the end of their high school career. The feeling one gets at 1 am after having been out when you realize that one day you will die and you are FOREVER gone. The weight begins to settle that out of the thousands of years of human history we learn about and the millions of years of earth history that we learn about each and every human lives through less than 1% of that existence and when it comes down to it in 100 years no one will know who we are and what our names were. Each person will at some point stop existing our brains will turn off and we will be no more for the rest of all time. That’s it you will one day just be gone and everything else will be lost to us. This idea can sometimes be hard to grasp and so often we think this is silly and we have life and we can enjoy it till we are gone, but not in existentialism. Once you have made it out of the social construct of life you can never go back, those who have made it beyond have reached a level from which you can never come back, and that is the realization that nothing matters. While this is considered an enlightened way to live it is often hard as someone who has not made it out of the social construct to grasp how something could be better than the joys of life that they have. How can life be better than an Alpine ski trip for two weeks over Christmas? How can life be better than the moments when I sit with my girlfriend and watch a movie? The answer to these questions can only be found once one has crossed that existential boarder, but getting there is hard, getting past is harder, and the realization that you are there may be the hardest part because your life will change forever because you realize that you life doesn’t matter, that you will die one day and no one will remember who you are. “Look Mama I made it, I have found life’s meaning… “
Throughout the first few chapters we learn about the death of Meursault’s mother as well as his reaction to said event. As we begin to unravel the text it becomes increasingly obvious that he seems to not care at all about the fact that his mother is dead and even further seems annoyed that he had to talk to his boss about missing work to attend the funeral. “I asked my boss for two days off and there was no way he was going to refuse me with an excuse like that. But he wasn’t too happy about it. I even said, “It’s not my fault.” He didn’t say anything.” The tone of the story as well as the way that it is told gives the impression that Mr. Meursault cares little for the death of his mother. Unlike most people Meursault is unfazed and it caused me slight uncomfort through the first part of the story but it also caused a fascination that allowed me to fall even deeper into the world of that Camu created. As I read the layers around the funeral I began to see not only the surface level of uncaring that Meursault seems to display but that he is actually quite annoyed with certain things that seem irrelevant, such as the old man falling behind while the funeral procession was going to the church. The smaller details that seem to be swalloed by the overall uncaring attitude and tone of the book made it even more fascinating to me and make me excited to learn even more about Meursault as well as The Stranger.