Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Author:Mohsin Hamid
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2017-02-09T16:07:22+00:00


SEVEN

THEY EMERGED in a bedroom with a view of the night sky and furnishings so expensive and well made that Saeed and Nadia thought they were in a hotel, of the sort seen in films and thick, glossy magazines, with pale woods and cream rugs and white walls and the gleam of metal here and there, metal as reflective as a mirror, framing the upholstery of a sofa, the switch plate for the lights. They lay still, hoping not to be discovered, but it was quiet, so quiet they imagined they must be in the countryside—for they had no experience of acoustically insulating glazing—and everyone in the hotel must be asleep.

As they stood, though, they saw from their full height what was below the sky, namely that they were in a city, with a row of white buildings opposite, each perfectly painted and maintained and implausibly like the next, and in front of each of these buildings, rising from rectangular gaps in a pavement that was paved with rectangular flagstones, or concrete laid in the manner of flagstones, were trees, cherry trees, with buds and a few white blossoms, as though it had snowed recently and the snow had caught in the boughs and leaves, all along the street, in tree after tree after tree, and they stood and stared at this, for it seemed almost unreal.

They waited for a while but knew they could not stay in this hotel room forever, so eventually they tried the handle of the door, which was unlocked, and emerged into a hallway, leading to a staircase, one flight down which led them to an even grander staircase, off which were floors with more bedrooms but also sitting rooms and salons, and only then did they realize that they were in a house of some kind, surely a palace, with rooms upon rooms and marvels upon marvels, and taps that gushed water that was like spring water and was white with bubbles and felt soft, yes soft, to the touch.

• • •

DAWN WAS BREAKING in the city and still they had not been discovered and Saeed and Nadia sat in the kitchen and pondered what to do. The refrigerator was mostly empty, suggesting no one had eaten from it in some time, and while there were boxes and cans of less perishable food in the cupboards, they did not want to be accused of stealing, so they brought their own food out of their backpack and boiled two potatoes for breakfast. They did however take two teabags from the house, and make themselves tea, and each used a spoonful of the house’s sugar as well, and if there had been milk in the house they might have helped themselves to a tiny splash of that too, but there was no milk to be found.

They clicked on a television to see if they could discover where they were, and it was soon clear to them that they were in London, and as they watched the



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