Home Fire review

A heartbreaking tale of the impact of society and faith upon family bonds.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie is the tragic tale of three siblings, Isma, Aneeka and Parvaiz. Isma, the eldest of the three, has finally set out on her own after years of caring for her younger twin siblings but she hasn’t stopped worrying about them – even though they are half a world away. Headstrong Aneeka is studying to be a lawyer back in London and Parvaiz… well, where to begin!

In America, Isma meets Eamonn and they instantly hit it off. The son of a powerful politician, Eamonn is a dreamer, living a care-free life until he gets wrapped up in the Pasha family drama. Isma confides in Eamonn the story of her father, a jihadist who was captured and died in transport to Guantanamo Bay when she was a little girl.

Upon returning to the UK Eamonn meets Aneeka, and the rest (as they say) is history. Much to the distress of his father, the British home secretary who has sought to put his Muslim faith behind him in order to further his political career. Meanwhile both sisters are trying to come to terms with their brothers betrayal – one more successfully than the other.

The blurb says ‘How can love survive betrayal’ and I think that sums up this book perfectly. Only 10 chapters total, this book is short but still manages to cover everything in depth and bring the story to life. The book opens from Isma’s point of view and for me this coloured how I felt about the rest of the characters. Every two chapters the perspective then changes to another character. This worked really well with the plot and allows the reader to see the events from all angles.

This book is so sad, if you’re the type of person that likes a happy ending where everyone lives happily ever after – this one is not for you! Full of suspense, you will storm through this in no time. Since reading the book, and doing some reading around it, I have discovered that Home Fire is a contemporary reimagining of the Greek tragedy Antigone, but I think it’s an excellent story in it’s own right – and the critics clearly agree as this was not only shortlisted for the costa best novel award and long listed for the man booker prize in 2017 but it also won the women’s prize for fiction in 2018.

Have you read Home Fire? What did you think?


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