Reading Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West as a World Novel

In: Journal of World Literature
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  • 1 Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, USA

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This paper investigates how Mohsin Hamid’s fiction challenges the so-called “natural law” of world literature according to which a work of literature has to be first born into a national literature before circulating into world literature. In addition, the paper shows how Hamid’s fiction and its reception strains the category of “national literature.” Building on the theoretical insights of Vittorio Coletti and Alexander Beecroft, I argue that Hamid’s 2017 novel Exit West can be read as a world novel because it narrates the world by framing the displacement of its characters in terms of migratory movement from the Global South to the Global North. The two narrative devices characteristic of the genre of world novel used in Exit West are: delocalization of place and entrelacement, or multi-strand narration.

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