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.
This novel is so full of twists and turns you’ll feel like you’re on a rollercoaster!
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is a murder mystery like no other. Set over 8 days, the book follows Aiden Bishop as he tries to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle, with one catch – each morning he wakes up in a different body and must relive the day again and see it through a different persons eyes. Not only that, but there are other people who are trying to beat him to the answer and they are willing to go to any lengths in order to get there first. Whoever figures out this mystery is the winner. The prize? Their freedom.
Evelyn will be killed 19 years to the day that her younger brother Thomas was murdered and as Aiden learns more about the Hardcastle’s and the events of the past the closer he comes to discovering the truth. The first day, he wakes up in Dr. Sebastian Bell’s body, without a clue as to where he is and what he is supposed to do and it’s only downhill from there. With each host comes a new set of complications not to mention the mysterious footman who seems intent on picking them off one by one.
When I read the blurb for this book I knew it was going to be a bit of me but it exceeded my expectations! Right from page one I was hooked! I’ve read so many thrillers and murder mysteries I can often predict where the story is going, but not with this one. Every time I thought I knew what was happening some new information comes to light that turns everything on its head. It kept me guessing right up to the end.
I’ve seen a lot of people describe this book as confusing and while there is a lot of different threads to follow I never felt like I was so confused that I wasn’t sure what was happening. I think it was mind boggling but in the best way possible. There are layers upon layers of reveals with the answer (or what seems to be an answer) on almost every page.
I enjoyed this book so much I am thoroughly looking forward to reading more of Stuart Turton’s work! If you’re not sure you can commit to a book over 500 pages, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is set to be adapted as a seven-part series for Netflix UK.
Have you read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle? What did you think of it?
Naomi Alderman’s 2016 novel “The Power” explores what a world where women are the dominant gender might look like. The book begins when women develop the ability to release electrical jolts from their fingers and then follows how they use their new found power to take over the world. The book follows four main characters (Margot, Roxy, Allie and Tunde) as they adjust to their new reality.
This book is such an interesting concept that is so much more than just ‘What if women ruled the world?’ It is an exploration of the power dynamics between men and women and an exploration of how our ‘civil’ society could descend so quickly into anarchy.
I can’t express enough how amazing this book is so here are 5 reasons why you must read ‘The Power”
Feminism – this is an obvious one, after all this book is marketed as ‘one of those essential feminist works’
It’s so thought provoking – imagine the GSCE English essays you could write on the themes in this book! Much more interesting than ‘of mice and men’ and Curly’s wife with her red nails, red dress, red everything and what that might represent. Seriously though it really gave my brain a workout.
If you are a women this book is so relatable – not in the whole being able to shoot lightning from your fingers thing obviously, but the way Alderman presents men and their behaviour towards women in this book. It particularly shines a light on how far we still have to go to get to a place of gender equality.
If you are a man I think this book should be required reading – I think that the role reversal presented by this book where men are the homemakers and women are the breadwinners presents men with an easier way to put themselves in a women’s shoes (as it were) and how it would be if men rather than women had to live in constant fear for their physical safety.
GIRL POWER! Seriously this book left me feeling so empowered.
This book is quite a heavy read, exploring religion, rape culture and more. At times women are presented in a very unflattering way but I think that’s what makes this book so brilliant! It makes the book feel much more believable and is a fascinating look at human behaviour. I can see why this won the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
If this review hasn’t sold you on this book then I highly recommend you go and read some of the reviews here. There are some really great ones, as well as some great Q&A’s.