What is NYU Reads?

NYU Reads brings the NYU community together around a single common reading, chosen by a University committee made up of faculty, student, and administrator representatives. Building on our undergraduate schools’ first-year reading programs, NYU Reads extends this dialogue beyond Welcome Week and opens it up to the entire University community.

Spring 2021: Exit West

Exit West book cover

Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid (2017) is our NYU Reads selection for Spring 2021.

Exit West tells the story of a young couple, Nadia and Saeed, whose escape from their war-ravaged city turns into a global odyssey thanks to a series of secret portals that whisk them away to unknown destinations. Their story opens up questions about borders, migration, love and loss, what it means to be human or a citizen, what it means to be part of a community, and what home means in multiple and shifting contexts.

Our hope is that reading Exit West will prompt both new and continuing NYU students to reflect on their journeys to this point in their lives - from adapting to a new environment and finding community, to confronting ideas and experiences that challenge their worldview and shape new aspirations. And for all members of the NYU community, Hamid’s novel provides a vantage point from which to reflect on this particular moment in human history as we grapple with disruptions to our everyday lives.

Resources and Support

Exit West contains a few descriptions of wartime violence in Nadia and Saeed’s home country. If you need emotional support while reading, or if you have concerns about reading a book in which such experiences are depicted, professional counselors are available to talk 24/7 through the Wellness Exchange hotline at 212-443-9999 or to chat through the Wellness Exchange app (available in the Apple App Store or Google Play).

Upcoming Events

Accessing the Book

How can I get copies of Exit West from NYU Libraries?

  • Exit West Ebook
    • If you are interested in downloading the ebook of Exit West via the EBSCO Digital collections (click on the link above), please download the Adobe Digital Editions app from the App StoreⓇ or on Google Play™.

How can I get copies of Exit West from the NYU Bookstore?

For First-Year Students:

By when should I have read the book?

Events and discussions for Exit West will be taking place in the spring 2021 semester. We recommend you plan to read Exit West over winter break, before the start of the spring semester.