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Home Fire

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  14,352 Ratings  ·  1,943 Reviews
Isma is free. After years of watching out for her younger siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she’s accepted an invitation from a mentor in America that allows her to resume a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream, to ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published August 15th 2017 by Riverhead Books
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Emily Mcleod Her seduction may fit in with the Antigone mythology. While I have not had a lot of experience with the original telling, a very popular retelling and…moreHer seduction may fit in with the Antigone mythology. While I have not had a lot of experience with the original telling, a very popular retelling and fantastic play 'Antigone in New York' also had a female character who used her 'feminine wiles' to cause action in the narrative. I believe it also has to do with the dichotomy of the good/bad muslim woman which plays out between Isma and Aneeka and is revealed quite luridly in the Home Secretary's considerations of Isma in the final chapter. Aneeka was difficult to identify with early on, but necessarily so in my humble opinion because she needed to be seen as willing to do anything for Parvaiz including what Isma, the 'good muslim woman' wouldn't to save him (this was mentioned in Aneeka's section). Perhaps the dramatic ending is not self-sacrificing but again manipulation, she may have just wanted to join Parvaiz and once again used Eammon to do this? Just a thought. Hope this helps :)

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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jack Cheng That's a great connection that non-Bollywood fans would not know! Thanks for pointing it out; I would be extremely surprised if Shamsie was unaware of…moreThat's a great connection that non-Bollywood fans would not know! Thanks for pointing it out; I would be extremely surprised if Shamsie was unaware of this convergence.(less)

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Adina
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: asia, british, booker
Just announced as the winner of Women's Prize for Fiction. So happy the novel finally got the recognition it deserves.

4.5* rounded up.

Home Fire is the candidate I support to win the Booker Prize. Well, I only read 4 nominees until now so it is not a definite opinion. However, it is highly unlikely that I will make too much of an advancement in my reading of the longlist until the shortlist is published so it will probably remain on top for a while.

If you read a few reviews you will realize tha
...more
Larry H
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ever since their mother and grandmother died within the period of a year, Isma has cared for her younger twin siblings, Aneeka and Parvaiz. Their well-being has always been her first concern, even if it meant sacrificing her own dreams and ambitions. But now that the twins have turned 18, Isma is finally putting herself first, accepting an invitation from a mentor to travel to America and co-author a paper with her.

That doesn't mean Isma won't worry about her siblings—Aneeka, smart, beautiful, a
...more
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Diane S ☔
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are so many timely subjects right now, world concerns and threats, and authors have responded in kind. This novel features two Muslim families in Britain, two families that have very different opinions on family and how to show or display their Muslim beliefs. It moves the themes in Sophocles, Antigone to present times. I remember very little about Antigone, refreshed my memory on Wiki, but I cannot really knowledgeably comment on the adequecy of the comparison.

The novel starts out slowly
...more
Elyse
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Update ... WINNER for the women’s prize of fiction for 2018!!!!!


SHORT LISTED FOR THE WOMAN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
LONG LISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

WOW!!!!!
Personal and political life merges together in the most heartbreaking of ways when a man loves a woman whose family is connected to a Muslim terrorist.
The author explores justice, love, and passion in ways that can be compared to older classics - think Romeo and Juliet - yet set in modern time.
Beautifully written - poetic - great character de
...more
Maxwell
Aug 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kindle, man-booker, 2017
I don't give 1-star reviews very often because I feel like I don't read a lot of books I would label as 'bad.' And this book, even, isn't 'bad' in my eyes. But when I think about things I enjoyed regarding this novel, there's pretty much nothing redeemable for me. The characters were flat, the plot was paper thin (even though I know it's a modern retelling of Antigone, I don't feel like that knowledge did anything to elevate the story), and the writing was nothing special and verged on poor at t ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I went looking for a review copy of this when it was included on the Man Booker Prize Long list, and was approved for one by the publisher through Edelweiss.

This is a book that kept morphing as I read it and discussed it, and it ended up in a place far removed from my expectations at the beginning. Nowhere in the publisher summary or promotional material does it mention that the author is also basing this novel on the myth of Antigone, but she has, and that proves important in understanding some
...more
Hugh
When the Booker longlist was announced, this was one of the books that most interested me, because I really enjoyed Shamsie's previous two novels (A God in Every Stone and Burnt Shadows). I was a little nervous when I read that this is a modern retelling of Antigone, because my knowledge of the classics is very limited, but it is a fine book and another one which would make a worthy winner.

The book is in five sections each of which focuses on a different character. I found the first slow going -
...more
Dianne
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2017
This is a powerful and gut-wrenching book loosely based on Greek mythology's story of Antigone, a woman defying a king to secure her brother an honorable burial. I knew this going in, so I did some research on Antigone so I could appreciate the parallels as they unfolded.

"Home Fire" is told through 5 viewpoints: sisters Isma and Aneeka, their brother Parvaiz (Aneeka's twin), British Home Secretary Karamat Lone and his son Eamonn. Isma, Aneeka and Parvaiz are Muslims living in London and Amherst,
...more
Roman Clodia
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delighted that this has now been recognised as the magnificent book it is: well done Women's Prize panel!

Inspired by Sophocles' Antigone, this has a slightly shaky start but then soars into an outstanding tragedy of love, politics, justice and humanity. By drawing on Athenian tragedy, Shamsie makes the point that clashes of civic law vs a deeper, more humane sense of what is right have always been contested, and the tension between family and state always problematic. What she does so brilliant
...more
Paul Fulcher
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker-2017, 2017
Deservedly the winner of the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction:

‘What do you say to your father when he makes a speech like that? Do you say, Dad, you’re making it OK to stigmatise people for the way they dress? Do you say, what kind of idiot stands in front of a group of teenagers and tells them to conform? Do you say, why didn’t you mention that among the things this country will let you achieve if you’re Muslim is torture, rendition, detention without trial, airport interrogations, spies in your
...more
Gumble's Yard
Winner of the 2018 Women's Prize. And a book which seems uncanningly prescient given the recent change in Home Secretary.

A book I originally read due to its longlisting for the 2017 Booker prize and by an author whose previous works I have not read.

In the stories of wicked tyrants men and women are punished with exile, bodies are kept from their families –their heads impaled on spikes, their corpses thrown into unmarked graves. All these things happen according to the law, but not according to
...more
Trish
Shamsie’s novel was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize for 2017. It is topical: two British families with Muslim religious roots and Pakistani backgrounds cone together in a doomed pas de deux . The author Shamsie, according to cover copy, grew up in Karachi, and yet in her picture she has the round eyes of a Westerner. The cultural difficulties she writes of may not be too difficult for her to imagine, I’m guessing.

I read this novel very fast—it has a strange, porous density to it. The meanin
...more
Rachel
Congratulations to Home Fire for winning the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction!

I don't know why I'd been under the impression that Home Fire was going to be a kind of loose, 'blink and you miss it' retelling of Antigone, but I'm almost glad that that had been my expectation, because the reality of this book completely caught me off guard. And I loved it. In this novel Kamila Shamsie gives us a fearless adaptation set in present-day London, following two Muslim families both grappling with family
...more
Bookworm
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oh wow! What a thought-provoking and emotional read! I was not expecting such a powerful and cleverly written work of fiction. Home Fire tackles a difficult yet important subject matter - the humanistic impact of modern day terrorism.

The reader is brought into an all-too-familiar scenario in which people of Muslim faith are automatically branded as Jihadists and suspected of sympathizing with terrorist activities. The prejudices and "extra security measures" these folks are subjected to is expl
...more
·Karen·
It's probably me.

This happens to me not infrequently these days. I read a book. I can recognise, intellectually, that it is well written. The concept is an intriguing one - to re-write the Antigone story in an up-to-date setting (and it IS very up-to-date); it has a lot to say about the state of politics in our twittering, tweeting world, in our world of asymmetrical warfare; the characters resonate, the writing never jars, the font is large enough, it sneaks in at well under 300 pages so I can'
...more
Vanessa
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
A timely examination of what it means to be a Muslim in a hostile Western modern society where pre conceived notions are at odds with some horrifying realities. It took me awhile to fully invest in this book and about mid way I was deeply absorbed and felt the immense force and power of this book. I felt a deep connection with the plight of the characters and how parts of their personal story unravel to really make you understand the complexities of the issues surrounding them. The author reveal ...more
Trudie
This book reminded me of why I love fiction so much.

Sometimes I pick up a book for escapism, sometimes to be challenged by a writer who is a master with language, occasionally it's because I feel obligated to read a particular book. Home Fire reminded me that if I was to distill my enjoyment down to one factor it would be the pleasure to be had from placing yourself in the minds and lives of others. Particularly when these others are experiencing things you thought you could never understand.
...more
Jennifer
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a 3-star read for most of the book, but the last section was so phenomenal that it elevated the entire novel to something really special. Shamsie establishes the sovereignty of her own story before really diving into the Antigone references at the end, and she plays with a range of themes from Antigone and addresses contemporary issues without diminishing either goal. I leave this book with a much deeper sense of how complicated it is to be a British Muslim than I've gotten from any no ...more
Claire McAlpine
I read Home Fire in two days, I thought it was brilliantly done, heartbreaking, tragic, essential.

Underpinning the novel is the premise of Sophocles' 5thC BC play Antigone, an exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual's human rights and those who must protect the state's security.

Before reading Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire, I downloaded a translation of Antigone to read, acknowledging herself that Anne Carson's translation of Antigone (Oberon Books, 2015) and
The Burial a
...more
Sonja Arlow
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A few years ago, one of my best friends eloped to marry a wonderful man. The fact that he was Muslim never even registered with me until she, a former Catholic, tentatively started telling people about this. She got mixed reactions even from those closest to her. Most recently her longest standing friend from London flatly refused to come visit her in SA because of “that Muslim” whom she has never spoken to or met. It broke her heart.

So, at the start of Eamonn and Aneeka’s relationship I though
...more
Dannii Elle
This is my sixth (and favourite) book read from the Women's Prize for Fiction longlist.

This contemporary reimagining of Antigone uses a multitude of perspectives as a nexus to explore the differing experiences a Muslim individual can face, whilst residing in Britain. The opening scene introduces the reader to Isma, as a rigorous searching of her possessions ensues before boarding her plane to America. Her embarrassment is acute, and yet she knows she must say thank you for the privilege of being
...more
Meike
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now Winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018 - well-deserved!!
" - Go back to uni, study the law. Accept the law, even when it's unjust.
- You don't love either justice or our brother if you can say that."


This book tells the story of a British family with Pakistani roots that gets torn apart by the ideology of jihad - and the story is modeled after Sophocles' classic greek tragedy Antigone. I loved the idea, as it underlines that the turmoil we are facing today is not as new as we like to as
...more
Erin
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
Audiobook performed by Tania Rodrigues 7h 54 min

A shortlist candidate for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018.

If my reading of longlist nominee Miss Burma was the least read book, then Home Fire certainly appears to be one of the more popular reads of my fellow reviewers. Written by Kamila Shamsie, a British-Pakistani author, Home Fire strikes a relevant chord in the post 9/11 world where discrimination against Muslim men and women in our airports, media, and among the general public is
...more
Peter Boyle
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Everything else you can live around, but not death. Death you have to live through."

Well I can certainly see why this novel has earned heavy praise. It examines provocative themes like the plight of the modern Muslim and radicalization in such a nuanced and insightful way. But the aspect of the story I admired most was its focus on family, and in particular, the sacrifices we make for our loved ones. When you value their happiness as more important than your own. When the thought of living with
...more
Neil
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-booker, 2017
I have not read any of Shamsie’s previous novels, so this was new territory for me. It’s a good sign, I guess, that I have immediately added two other books to my “to read” list to try some more. This book isn’t perfect, but it is very, very good.

I have seen some discussions about the use Shamsie makes of Antigone, perhaps specifically Anouilh’s version produced in occupied France during World War II. This influence is clear. You can map the characters in Home Fire against characters in Antigone
...more
Viv JM
Wow! To say this is a powerful book would be an understatement. It is riveting, thought provoking and totally compelling. And that ending, oh my word, that ending!

I know that this book was based on Antigone, but not being familiar with the story hasn't detracted from my enjoyment of this book, although it has made me curious to learn more and I have placed a hold at the library for Ali Smith's retelling (albeit for kids!) The Story of Antigone. I may come back to his book (or at least this revi
...more
Thomas
3.5 stars

A relevant novel given our political climate, Home Fire details the complicated ordeal of three siblings haunted by the legacy of their jihadist father. The story begins with Isma, the eldest sister, a Londoner of Pakistani descent on her way to start her Ph.D. at Amherst. We then learn about her younger twin siblings, Aneeka, a headstrong and intelligent law student, and Parvaiz, who disappears to follow his own dreams. When Isma and Aneeka learn about Parvaiz's whereabouts, their wors
...more
Doug
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 A modern gloss on Antigone, this Booker nominee is now in 2nd place of my ranked longlisted books (with four other nominees to go!). Unlike several GR friends who either had no prior knowledge of its classical connection, or weren't conversant in the original Greek, that element undoubtedly enhanced my appreciation of what Shamsie achieves here (my degrees are in theatre, so I am fairly knowledgeable about the original texts).

It was fascinating to me not only to see how the central elements
...more
Britta Böhler
4.5*
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Kamila Shamsie was born in 1973 in Karachi, where she grew up. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While at the University of Massachusetts she wrote In The City By The Sea , published by Granta Books UK in 1998. This first novel was shortlisted for the John Llewelyn Rhys Award in the UK, and Shamsie recei ...more
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“For girls, becoming women was inevitability; for boys, becoming men was ambition” 22 likes
“Grief was what you owed the dead for the necessary crime of living on without them.” 13 likes
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