Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie

Tragic, beautiful and compelling is exactly how I would describe Home Fire. Isma has spent years raising her twin siblings after her mother’s death and is now finally free to continue her life and study in America. Here she meets Eamonn, the son of a politician back home who causes friction within their Muslim community. When Eamonn returns and meets her younger sister Aneeka who is struggling with her twin Parvaiz’s disappearance the lives of these families becomes deeply and tragically intertwined all in the name of love and how far you would go for it.

A retelling of Antigone this novel has been on my radar for a while. Once I picked it up it drew me in quickly and I fell in love with the simple language. I enjoyed the way the novel was split and explored difference character’s perspectives as the story progressed. I loved some of the perspectives and was frustrated by others and yet, either way I was unable to put it down. As much as I am unfamiliar with the original play I can see the Greek tragedy influences and am interested to seek out the original story. Shamsie takes the story and makes it perfectly relatable in a modern setting that touches upon current political and social issues. This and the way she presents both sides of this complex issue is fascinating and timely.

I’m not going to lie, the last few pages broke my heart and left me much to sit and ponder afterwards. Home Fire is a strong story that is memorable and very relevant. It is a read I highly recommend picking up and is a most deserving inclusion on the Man Booker longest. Do yourself a favour and pick it up, I doubt you will be disappointed.

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