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Exit West

Mohsin Hamid

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Two young lovers trapped in a nameless mid-east city wracked by civil war. But mysterious black doors start opening up all over the world - portals to another place.

The couple step through one and land in a huge refugee camp in Cyprus. Then another one takes them to an empty lux home in Knightsbridge London. This quickly fills up with other refugees who have found the same door. Then the doors open into lots of other empty houses in same (rich) part of London owned by rich absentee foreigners.

Their first reaction is to call in the police, but cops quickly realize they have no show of evicting a hundred people. As the suburb fills up with up to a million refugees, authorities try hardball tactics - turn off all services.

But that doesn't move anyone, so eventually realize they will have to be accommodated. Set up a system where refugees given jobs building new homes on London's Green Belt, with incentive that more hours you do the higher you go up list for your own apartment.

Couple get disillusioned by progress (and weather), and hop through another door to California. There they find a huge co-op system set up by migrants. (ie Britain slow and govt directed, US can-do attitude).

Couple drift apart. Final chapter is a poignant reunion half a century later as they meet up for a coffee in their original city, now rebuilt.

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