Home Fire — Kamila Shamsie

Read Date: March 26, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5
Format: Print Book

A present-day retelling of Antigone, Home Fire follows a gripping conglomeration of characters: diligent Isma, fiery Aneeka, impressionable Parvaiz, heavy-handed Karamat, and beleaguered Eamonn– three British Muslim siblings, the British Home Secretary, and his enamored son, respectively.

Home Fire opens on Isma Pasha, elder sister and interim parent to her twin siblings Parvaiz and Aneeka, as she is traveling from Britain to the United States to embark on her PhD studies. It’s here that she encounters a ghost from her youth: Eamonn Lone, son of Karamat Lone who is the Home Secretary and no friend to the Pasha family. Through their journey of friendship and companionship, Eamonn agrees to send a package to Isma’s home in England upon his return.

When Eamonn ultimately decides to hand deliver the package and see Isma’s natural habitat, he meets Aneeka, whose headstrong and vocal passion for justice enthrall him; pair this with her beauty and Eamonn is, as they say, a goner. The two lives intertwine until culminating with Aneeka making a hefty request: can Eamonn talk to his father and help bring her brother home?

‘Home from where?’, you may ask. Well, in the midst of unrest and grumblings of winters of discontent, Parvaiz looks for a better alternative and falls in with a crew who ensures him that they can take Parvaiz somewhere he can find it: Syria. Whether from a sense of loyalty to his late terrorist father or a rose-colored, grass-is-always-greener blind optimism, Parvaiz leaves Britain to join the Islamic State. His British documents are confiscated and he is, for all intents and purposes, stuck.

When a tragedy occurs surrounding Parvaiz’s efforts to remedy his decisions and come back to Wembley, the narrative is portrayed through the duty-bound eyes of Karamat Lone. The Lone Wolf addresses the British public, his family, and his private staff with the same authoritarian outlook regarding the traitor Parvaiz Pasha, which does not pacify either Eamonn or Aneeka, and ultimately finds the latter two in an enthralling, haunting final scene, which this reviewer will *not* be spoiling here!

Home Fire‘s plot will captivate the reader from page one, but that is only the beginning. Structured in five sections, each from the perspective of one of the novel’s main players, the canvas is prepared for in-depth character study and development as well. Each individual’s decisions are realistic to their personalities and create further expansion of his/her role in the overarching narrative. The setting is timely and sensitive, which enhances the plot’s elevated stakes and overall impact. A moving, intelligent work, the reader will find Home Fire— specifically the last few pages– tumbling around in her brain for some time after the final curtain.

Buy Home Fire here or grab it from your local library. Happy reading! 🙂

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