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Man Booker 2017: Exit West and Books About the Refugee Experience

30 August 2017

Medium mohsin hamid   exit west
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Books on the Man Booker longlist often deal with current world events. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is one of these; it’s about a couple in love, who become part of a growing refugee crisis when their home city becomes too dangerous to live in.

We’ve chosen some of the best books about refugees below.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West starts as a very conventional love story, but when civil war explodes, Nadia and Saeed decide to flee. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, follow these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are.

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Faillon

The Bone Sparrow tells the story of Subhi, a 10-year-old boy who has spent his entire life living in a refugee detention centre after his mother and sister fled the violence of their homeland. This book is about refugees, but it’s also about imagination, friendship, hope, and the power of storytelling.

Read our interview with Zana Fraillon

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Parker

Salva, is from a prominent, upper-class Sudanese family. As the Second Sudanese Civil War erupts in the mid-1980s, Salva is forced to run as bombs hit his village. Fleeing quickly and leaving his family behind, he joins up with bands of strangers—all headed out of their war-torn homeland to Ethiopia.

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Set against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma, Bamboo People explores the power of courage and compassion to overcome violence and prejudice. Chiko, who is forced against his will to join the army, befriends a teen on the opposing side, igniting a friendship that reveals the fear, violence, prejudice, and hardships they both experience.

Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian

Somali refugees come to a small town in Maine for a safer life. Tom hasn’t thought much about his Somali classmates until four of them join the soccer team, including Saeed. He makes impossible shots, and suddenly the team is winning. But when Saeed’s eligibility is questioned and Tom screws up in a big way, he’s left to grapple with a culture he doesn’t understand and take responsibility for his actions.

Shooting Kabul by NH Senzai

When Fadi’s family flees from the Taliban in Afghanistan, his sister, Mariam, is separated from them. As Fadi and his family try to adjust to life in San Francisco, Fadi tries to figure out a way to get his sister back, while suffering bullying at school.

Get involved

Watch Mohsin Hamid talking about Exit West on the Late Night with Seth Meyers show for a good intro to the story

You can find out more about Exit West in our Readers’ Guide, or by reading an extract.