Exit West


Mohsin Hamid

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An eighteen- or nineteen-year-old Greek woman who lives in Mykonos and works as a volunteer at a clinic that provides services to refugees like Nadia and Saeed. When Nadia badly cuts her arm in the process of running from a band of suspicious men up a rocky hill on the beach, she goes to this clinic with Saeed. Here, the volunteer treats Nadia’s arm—though she has no formal medical training—and engages her in conversation. The two women quickly form a close connection, and Nadia returns to the clinic everyday to smoke joints and pass the time with the volunteer. A kind woman, the volunteer asks Saeed and Nadia what she can do to help them, and when they tell her they want to somehow leave the island, she brings them to a door that will take them to London. Before Nadia steps through the portal, the volunteer hugs her tightly and whispers something in her ear. Months later, Nadia finds herself having sexual fantasies about the young woman as her relationship with Saeed deteriorates.
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The Volunteer Character Timeline in Exit West

The timeline below shows where the character The Volunteer appears in Exit West. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Love and Connection Theme Icon
Borders, Division, and Fear Theme Icon
...arrives in Mykonos, Nadia and Saeed visit a health clinic in town, where a nineteen-year-old volunteer cleans and dresses Nadia’s arm wound, though she has no official medical training. As she... (full context)
Chapter 9
Love and Connection Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
...Saeed and Nadia must share a single cot, where one night Nadia dreams about the volunteer from Mykonos. In the dream, she has gone back to the island, and when she... (full context)
Chapter 10
Love and Connection Theme Icon
The preacher runs a shelter staffed by volunteers that feeds people and teaches English. Before long, Saeed joins the organization and works with... (full context)