Keywords: migrant identity, cultural stereotypes, cosmopolitanism.
Rather than a work of speculative fiction, we contend that Mohsin Hamid’s novel Exit West is best located in the genre of migration literature. It well illustrates newer postmillennial efforts to update the migrant story for those who must navigate both real and virtual borders. Amid the chaos of a postcolonial world now thoroughly globalized and digitized, resistance to migrants seeking asylum or a better life elsewhere occurs within an international context of growing nationalist fervor and extreme racial/ethnic hatred and violence. The spread of mass and social media also requires migrants to navigate widespread stereotypes associated with the rapidly evolving role of the migrant. We argue that Hamid’s story of Muslim migrants is both universal and unique. The current discourse on important aspects of identity (e.g., gender), and conflicting expectations imposed by home cultures and those abroad, complicate both the migrant journey and their ultimate sense of self and place.