Read Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie Online

Home Fire

Isma is free. After years of watching out for her younger siblings in the wake of their mothers death, shes accepted an invitation from a mentor in America that allows her to resume a dream long deferred. But she cant stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, or their brother, Parvaiz, whos disappeared in pursuit of his own dream, to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. When he resurfaces half a globe away, Ismas worst fears are confirmed.Then Eamonn enters the sisters lives. Son of a powerful political figure, he has his own birthright to live up toor defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaizs salvation? Suddenly, two families fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined, in this searing novel that asks: What sacrifices will we make in the name of love?...

Title : Home Fire
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780735217683
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 276 pages
Url Type : Home » Home » Home Fire

Home Fire A Novel 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 Take Action To Prevent Home Fires Red Cross The American Red Cross and its partners have launched an initiative that aims to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by % in five years. Fairfax County Homepage Fairfax County Browse Fairfax County Financial Transparency portal to view county government s operations and how tax dollars are spent. Sparky the Fire Dog Not all web sites are safe places for kids Anytime you aren t sure about a website, stay safe by going to get a grown up to help you or clicking the back button. Smokey Bones Bar Fire Grill collapse Smokey Bones Order Online Barnesville Barnesville s Niki Sappington in a still shot from HBO video praising the city and her work. Home Page Joe Vitale of The Secret DVD is Law of Home of Mr Fire Dr Joe Vitale is the author of far too many books to mention here Here are just a few of them Mail Tribune Fighting Back Son s overdose death prompts Ashland mom to help save others Green Bay, WI US Dept of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service Green Bay, WI South Point Road Green Bay, WI NCDOI Home Page July , Special agents charge Raleigh man with insurance fraud July , Special agents charge Fayetteville man with insurance fraud, identity theft

Home Fire Reviews

  • 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

    "Stories are a kind of nourishment. We do need

    them, and the fact that the story of Antigone, a

    story about a girl who wants to honour the body

    of her dead brother, and why she does, keeps being

    told suggests that we do need this story, that it

    might be one of the ways that we make life and

    death meaningful, that it might be a way to help

    us understand life and death, and that there's

    something nourishing in it, even though it is full

    of terrible and difficult things, a very dark story

    full of sadness."


    Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire is a contemporary retelling of the classic play, set in contemporary London. Even though I knew the premise of the story from having read the play, the story unfolded as if I had no prior knowledge of its likely outcome, it has its own unique surprises and insights, making it a compelling read.

    We meet Isma, the eldest daughter of a family, who've been raised by their mother and grandmother, as she announces to her twin brother and sister Aneeka and Parvaiz that she is going to the US to complete her PhD studies that were put on pause after the death of their mother and grandmother within the space of a year, leaving her to become the mother to griefstruck twelve-year-old twins. She had briefly known her father, but the twins never.

    The rigorous interrogation she is put through on leaving the UK reveal something in her family background that their entire family has tried to keep quiet, just wanting to move on with their lives, that their father had abandoned them and gone to fight as a jihadi in Afghanistan and had died en route to Guantanamo.

    While in the US, Isma meets Eamonn, the son of a British politician she detests, setting in motion a litany of events that will have a catastrophic impact on both their families.

    "Eamonn, that was his name. How they'd laughed in Wembley when the newspaper article accompanying the family picture revealed this detail, an Irish spelling to disguise a Muslim name - Ayman become Eamonn so that people would know the father had integrated."


    For Parvaiz, the only son, the lack of a father figure created a void, his grandmother had been the only family member willing to talk about him, but her stories were always of the boy, never of the man he became, a subject she was reluctant to be drawn into.

    "He had always watched boys and their fathers with an avidity composed primarily of hunger. Whenever any of those fathers had made a certain gesture towards him - a hand placed on the back of his neck, the word 'son', an invitation to a football match - he'd retreat, both ashamed and afraid in a jumbled way that only grew more so as the years passed and the world of girls and boys grew more separate, so there were times he was not a twin to a twin but rather the only male in a house that knew all the secrets that women shared with on another but none that fathers taught their son."


    It's a riveting, intense novel that propels the reader forward, even while something in us wants to resist what we can feel coming. It pits love against loyalty, family versus country, and cruelly displays how hard it is for families to distance themselves from their ancestral past. ...more

  • Peter Boyle

    "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

  • Paul Fulcher

    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

    My own family’s heritage is Muslim. Myself and my four brothers were brought up to believe in God, but I do not practise any religion. My wife is a practising Christian and the only religion practised in my house is Christianity. I think we should recognise that Christianity is the religion of our country.
    And also where, in 2014, the then Home Secretary – now in 2017 the Prime Minister of the ‘Citizens of Nowhere’ speech – introduced powers to strip dual citizens suspected of involvement in terrorism of their British nationality. In the novel, Kamarat Lone, goes further:

    The day I assumed office I revoked the citizenship of all dual nationals who have left Britain to join our enemies. My predecessor only used these powers selectively which, as I have said repeatedly, was a mistake.

    Home Fire - as with Preti Taneja's recent wonderful retelling of King Lear, We That Are Young - is told in five sections, in the third person from the perspectives of the key characters:

    - Isma (Ismene), a young woman and LSE trained sociologist

    - Eamonn (Haemon), son of the Home Secretary

    - Parvaiz (Polyneices), Isma's 19 year-old younger brother

    - Aneeka (Antigone), Parvaiz's twin sister, studying law at LSE, and

    - Karamat (Creon), whose Irish wife Terri fills the role of the prophet Teiresias

    The novel opens with Isma at Heathrow undergoing an interview from British immigration authorities, although she is actually leaving the country to start a PhD in America. In the 21st Century security state any Muslim leaving the country, particularly with Isma's family background (see below) is potentially open to suspicion as to whether their ultimate route might be Islamic State: indeed, unknown to anyone but his very close family, Isma’s brother, Parvaiz, has done precisely that.

    ’Do you consider yourself British?’ the man said.

    ‘I am British.’

    ‘But do you consider yourself British?’

    ‘I’ve lived here all my life.’ She meant that there was no other country of which she could feel herself a part, but the words came out sounding evasive.

    The interrogation continued for nearly two hours. He wanted to know her thoughts on Shias, homosexuals, the Queen, democracy, The Great British Bake Off, the invasion of Iraq, Israel, suicide bombers, dating websites. After that early slip regarding her Britishness, she settled into the manner that she’d practiced with Aneeka playing the role of the interrogating officer, Isma responding to her sister as though she were a customer of dubious political opinions whose business Isma didn’t want to lose by voicing strenuously opposing views, but to whom she didn’t see the need to lie either. (“When people talk about the enmity between Shias and Sunni, it usually centers around some political imbalance of power, such as in Iraq or Syria—as a Brit, I don’t distinguish between one Muslim and another.” “Occupying other people’s territory generally causes more problems than it solves”—this served for both Iraq and Israel. “Killing civilians is sinful—¬that’s equally true if the manner of killing is a suicide bombing or aerial bombardments or drone strikes.”)

    There were long intervals of silence between each answer and the next question as the man clicked keys on her laptop, examining her browser history. He knew that she was interested in the marital status of an actor from a popular TV series; that wearing a hijab didn’t stop her from buying expensive products to tame her frizzy hair; that she had searched for “how to make small talk with Americans.


    The dangers of ‘Googling while Muslim’ feature frequently in the novel, fears which Shamsie admits dogged her when researching the novel.
    I was very aware of Googling while Muslim while writing this book. When I started to research, I would do stupid things, like look at three relevant websites, then go look at some really trashy celebrity stuff for a while. There was a part of my brain that was saying, what will I say if intelligence agencies come to my door and want to know why I’m looking up this stuff?
    Most strikingly, from the same interview:
    Q: Would you have published Home Fire before you had the security of knowing you were a British citizen?

    A: No, absolutely not.
    http://www.vogue.com/article/kamila-s...

    In America, Isma suddenly encounters a handsome youth, in a rather Mills and Boonesque moment.

    By mid-afternoon the temperature had passed the 50° F mark, which sounded, and felt, far warmer than 11° C, and a bout of spring madness had largely emptied out the café basement. Isma tilted her post-lunch mug of coffee towards herself, touched the tip of her finger to the liquid, considered how much of a faux pas it might be to ask to have it microwaved. She had just decided she would risk the opprobrium when the door opened and the scent of cigarettes curled in from the smoking area outside, followed by a young man of startling looks.

    She soon recognises him as Karamat Lone's son:

    Eamonn, that was his name. How they’d laughed in Wembley when the newspaper article accompanying the family picture revealed this detail, an Irish spelling to disguise a Muslim name – Ayman became Eamonn so that people would know the father had integrated. (His Irish–American wife was seen as another indicator of this integrationist posing rather than an explanation for the son’s name.)

    There is history between the two families. Isme, Aneeka and Parvaiz's father Adil Pasha had been a jihadi himself: their last contact with him a phone call from Afghanistan in late 2001. In 2004 they found out, from a fellow prisoner, now released that their father had been captured in early 2002, imprisoned and tortured in the Bagram Theater Internment Facility and then died on route to Guantanamo. A friend of the family contacted a cousin, now the local MP - one Karamat Lone, then at the start of his political career - for help in finding where his body might be, but he refused

    They're better off without him

    One issue Shamsie faced in re-writing Antigone was how to incorporate the incest/father murder of Oedipus, Polyneices and his sister's father: changing this so that father and son are both jihadis, was a very neat solution, and does away with the fourth sibling Eteocles (killed by Polyneices in the play) as Parvaiz's unpardonable sin, rendering him a non-person in Karamat's eyes, is joining Islamic State.

    The destiny of sons's to follow their father is a key theme of the novel, albeit one that I struggleda little with as so manifest in a 21st Century context. As Eamonn tries to explain to one of the sisters:

    For girls, becoming women was inevitability; for boys, becoming men was ambition. He must have seen her look of incomprehension because he tried again. ‘We want to be like them; we want to be better than them. We want to be the only people in the world who are allowed to be better than them.’

    And incomprehension cuts both ways: Eamonn tries, and fails, to understand how it might feel to be Parvaiz or his sisters:

    He tried to imagine growing up knowing your father to be a fanatic, his death a mystery open to terrible speculation, but the attempt was defeated by his simple inability to know how such a man as Adil Pasha could have existed in Britain to begin with.

    I won't spoil what happens in the rest of the novel. Shamsie is to be credited for managing to:

    - adhere faithfully to the original - even incorporating nods to signature elements such as the dust storm that appears at one crucial moment, yet

    - maintain narrative tension - it is typically only afterwards that one recognises how the action follows the play, and

    - update the play's themes for a 21st Century setting - for example the role of Coryphaeus and the chorus is taken by the press - and highly topical issues.

    The novel has some powerful things to say about dual nationality and identity - and the approach of allowing each character their perspective provides a relatively balanced view, albeit it is clear that Shamsie's sympathy's are not with Karamat Lone's approach to stripping those joining Islamic State of their citizenship and their right to return, even for burial when dead, to the UK.

    She also, through Parvaiz, provides insight into what draws young people to Islamic State, drawing on the interviews in Gillian Slovo's verbatim play Another World: Losing our Children to Islamic State. She describes a recruitment video for Islamic State - note the dissonant images of violence interspersed with the idyllic scenes:

    Men fishing together against the backdrop of a beautiful sunrise; children on swings in a playground; a man riding through a city on the back of a beautiful stallion, carts of fresh vegetables lining the street; an elderly but powerful-looking man beneath a canopy of green grapes, reaching up to pluck a bunch; young men of different ethnicities sitting together on a carpet laid out in a field; standing men pointing their guns at the heads of kneeling men; an aerial night-time view of a street thrumming with life, car headlights and electric lights blazing; men and boys in a large swimming pool; boys and girls queuing up outside a bouncy castle at an amusement park; a blood donation clinic; smiling men sweeping an already clean street; a bird sanctuary; the bloodied corpse of a child.

    or as Parvaiz puts it rather more simply when he arrives in Raqqa:

    Despite his disquiet at the spiked heads and veiled women, the blue skies and the camaraderie of the men slumped in beanbags promised the better world he’d come in search of.

    And the book also doesn't spare those who make life more difficult for their fellows by their own actions. As a Pakistani relative of Aneeka tells her when she arrives in the country as the novel reaches its dramatic climax:

    Did you or your bhenchod brother stop to think about those of us with passports that look like toilet paper to the rest of the world, who spend our whole lives being so careful we don’t give anyone a reason to reject our visa applications. Don’t stand next to this guy, don’t follow that guy on Twitter, don’t download that Noam Chomsky book. And then first your brother uses us as a cover to join some psycho killers, and then your government thinks this country can be a dumping ground for its unwanted corpses and your family just expects us to jump up and organise a funeral for this week’s face of terrorism.

    And now you’ve come along, Miss Hojabi Knickers, and I have to pull strings I don’t want to pull to get you out of the airport without the whole world’s press seeing you, and it turns out you’re here to try some stunt, I don’t even know what, but my family will have nothing to do with it, nothing to do with you.’


    I said at the review's start that this wasn't perhaps the best book on the Booker shortlist measured by literary merit alone. As per the example quote above, the Isme section has tinges of a Mills and Boon romance and that focusing on Parvaiz elements of a cheap Clive Cussler thriller (per Gumble’s Yard's excellent review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...).

    However the writing becomes more powerful in the latter two sections, as it move on to both the highly personal and yet public anguish of Aneeka, interspersed with excerpts from tabloid newspapers (who rename Aneeka 'Knickers' and Parvaiz 'Pervy' as they seize with glee on the sex scandals in the story) and then the political machinations of the Home Secretary. And it struck me that the style choices in the first sections may have been that: choices, with Shamsie using the character's own worldviews to colour her third-person narration.

    Overall - a novel I would be happy to see win the Booker, albeit there are many other strong books on the exceptional 2017 list: Autumn, Reservoir 13 (my personal favourite), Solar Bones, Exit West and Lincoln in the Bardo would form the rest of my personal shortlist. ...more

  • Maxwell

    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

  • 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

  • Larry H

    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

  • 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

  • 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