Mohsin Hamid questions the 'migration apocalypse' in his Man Booker longlisted book, Exit West

Mohsin Hamid discusses how his new book, Exit West, uses magic realism as a powerful storytelling tool to help reignite empathy for refugees.
Author Mohsin Hamid and Tom Power in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Melody Lau/CBC)

Mohsin Hamid has the uncanny ability of predicting the news that will grip our world, always staying one step ahead of the game. His debut novel, Moth Smoke, was set in Lahore before the 1998 nuclear testing. The Reluctant Fundamentalist delved into the standoff, post-9/11, between the Muslim World and the U.S.

His latest fiction is no different. 

Exit West (out now) is a love story that's entrenched in issues regarding refugees and migration and was recently longlisted for the Man Booker prize. Here, there are things called portals where people can be transported to another place on Earth instantly. "I wanted to focus on what happens before you move, what makes you want to move and what happens after you move," Hamid says, noting that the process of moving itself was not of interest to him. 

"We live in a world where distance is collapsing," Hamid explains. "I wanted to explore this idea of a world where things come together in new ways." 

— Produced by Sarah Grant


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