Author Mohsin Hamid uses fairy-tale elements in "Exit West." He sends his protagonists on a trek across continents.
Hamid at a literary festival in 2014 Photo: imago/Fotoarena
It starts out like a random "boy meets girl" story. Perhaps not so random from a comfortably European perspective, as Saeed and Nadia, the couple who have yet to become one, live in a city preparing for civil war. In a city where customs are so strict that Nadia, who lives alone, has taken to always wearing a voluminous full-body robe to keep quiet from men. Slowly, the two get closer to each other and eventually become a couple.