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Home Fire: A Novel Hardcover – August 15, 2017
The Amazon Book Review
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An Amazon Best Book of August 2017: You don’t need to recall much about Sophocles’ tale of Antigone to be swept up by Kamila Shamsie’s plot-driven and lyrical contemporary retelling. Shamsie, a native of Karachi who has written six previous novels, sets Home Fire among two Pakistani émigré families living in very different communities in London. Isma Pasha, the devout orphaned daughter of a jihadi fighter, has raised her younger sister and brother in the largely Asian neighborhood of Wembly. Eamonn, the son of the British Home Secretary (a secularlized Muslim) has grown up in posh Holland Park. His family has the power to help hers, and their friendship leads inexorably to a dramatic political crisis. The classical antecedents of this story are virtually invisible behind precisely-noticed modern-day details of Twitter trends, tabloid news and text messages. Shifting points of view allow Shamsie to explore the different relationships at stake, from family loyalties to sexual passion, and these intimate connections counterbalance her broader political point. This is a beautifully-written, angry, romantic novel that succeeds in being both timely and timeless. --Sarah Harrison Smith, Amazon Book Review
“Ingenious and love-struck … Home Fire takes flight. … Shamsie drives this gleaming machine home in a manner that, if I weren’t handling airplane metaphors, I would call smashing. … Builds to one of the most memorable final scenes I’ve read in a novel this century.” —New York Times
“[U]rgent and explosive … near perfect ... a difficult book to put down.” —NPR
"[A] haunting novel, full of dazzling moments and not a few surprising turns...Home Fire blazes with the kind of annihilating devastation that transcends grief." —Washington Post
“Achingly good...[and] shrewdly subversive.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This wrenching, thought-provoking novel races to a shattering climax.”—People Magazine
“A Greek tragedy for the age of ISIS ... spare as a fable yet intensely intimate.” —Vogue
"A thought-provoking commentary on loyalty, love, justice, politics, terrorism, religion, and family.” —Buzzfeed
“Elegant and intense, Kamila Shamsie’s seventh novel asks timeless questions about love for and loyalty to family and ideology — and you won’t be able to put it down until you reach its unforgettable ending… it’s safe to say this is Shamsie at her best.” —Shondaland.com
“Pitch perfect...We can expect more great work from this audaciously talented author.” —New York Journal of Books
“Her last, perfect word serves as a contemporary, against-all-odds, global prayer… Shamsie’s latest is a compelling, stupendous stand-out to be witnessed, honored, and deeply commended.”—Christian Science Monitor
“A cross-continental novel about civil disobedience that tackles political and emotional matters with equal assurance.” —Time Magazine
"Shamsie’s timely fiction probes the roots of radicalism and the pull of the family.” —O, the Oprah Magazine
"A blaze of identity, family, nationalism, and Sophocles’ Antigone.” —Vanity Fair
“Stunning...every fall reader who picks this up will be mesmerized by Shamsie’s enchanting prose—and they’ll definitely fall in love with these unforgettable characters.”—Redbook Magazine
“So good that it will break your heart.”—WAMC, “The Roundtable”
"An absorbing and incisive study of race and roots, attachment and affiliation — to a cause, a country, a person, a family — which encompasses five fascinatingly divergent viewpoints… timely and incendiary.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“All of Shamsie’s novels are deeply moving and morally complex, leading to the kind of rich reading experience most of us hope for in every novel we pick up. Her newest has all of that and more.” —San Francisco Chronicle
"Astonishingly accomplished, melding classic story with text messages and contemporary headlines, and Shamsie makes every devastatingly unknown compassionately known." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Shamsie’s newest bestseller unpacks the controversial subjects of love, humanity, and extremism with due care.” —Brit + Co
"Intelligent, phenomenally plotted, and eminently readable." —Bitch
“Remarkable… [an] engrossing work of literature, one not only important to current political conversation, but also that holds timeless truths and a story that never grows old.” —Chicago Review of Books
"Shamsie’s prose is, as always, elegant and evocative. Home Fire pulls off a fine balancing act: it is a powerful exploration of the clash between society, family and faith in the modern world, while tipping its hat to the same dilemma in the ancient one." —The Guardian
“Home Fire is about love, loyalty, and sacrifice — and it makes the headlines we read every day hit home in a way that will inspire any reader to fight for what's right.” —Bustle
"Shamise’s incredibly moving story addresses the conflict between what we feel to be right versus what the law tells us is right, and what we will sacrifice in the name of family.” —Real Simple
“Engrossing… The timely novel—critically hailed on both sides of the Atlantic, and long-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize—engages questions of bigotry, nationalism and national identity.”—Pittsburgh City Paper
"[A] powerful story of the complexities of love, family and state in wartime …timely and tragic, with an unforgettable ending.” —BBC.com
"Home Fire is Shamsie’s seventh and most accomplished novel. The emotionally compelling plot is well served by her lucid storytelling, and she digs into complex issues with confidence… As this deftly constructed page-turner moves swiftly toward its inevitable conclusion, it forces questions about what sacrifice you would make for family, for love." —BookPage
"It’s only 250-odd pages, but Home Fire feels sprawling, almost epic...This is sensitive material, and Shamsie is aware of the nuances. She doesn’t let anyone off the hook...powerful." —The Daily Telegraph
"Remarkable …a provocative work which will inspire the admiration of many but may at the same time infuriate readers expecting a more black and white depiction of terrorists versus non-terrorists, Muslims versus non-Muslims, the role of the state versus the rights of the civilian. It takes a brave writer to tackle these subjects in such a nuanced fashion and a fearless one to recognise that there is enough blame for all parties." —The Irish Times
“Moving and thought-provoking.” —The Millions, Most Anticipated
"An Odyssey of the imagination … incredibly convincing." —BBC Radio 4
“Gut-wrenching and undeniably relevant to today’s world… In accessible, unwavering prose and without any heavy-handedness, Shamsie addresses an impressive mix of contemporary issues, from Muslim profiling to cultural assimilation and identity to the nuances of international relations. This shattering work leaves a lasting emotional impression.”—Booklist, starred
"Memorable...salient and heartbreaking, culminating in a shocking ending."—Publisher's Weekly
"Two-time Orange Prize nominee Shamsie (A God in Every Stone) has written an explosive novel with big questions about the nature of justice, defiance, and love." —Kirkus Reviews
"One pays it the highest compliment one can pay fiction; it makes you think. Uncomfortably." —The Times
"utterly contemporary and deeply original too." —The Standard
"Home Fire is everything literary fiction should be — an exciting, beautiful, profound novel of lasting value that deserves laurels." —The Spectator
"Propulsive and unfailingly elegant... [Shamsie's] brave and brilliant novel strongly suggests that the only way to counter hate-filled fundamentalism is with a fundamentalism of love." —Sunday Times
“Home Fire left me awestruck, shaken, on the edge of my chair, filled with admiration for her courage and ambition.” —Peter Carey, Booker Prize-winning author of Oscar and Lucinda
“Shamsie’s simple, lucid prose plays in perfect harmony with the heartbeat of modern times. Home Fire deftly reveals all the ways in which the political is as personal as the personal is political. No novel could be as timely.” —Aminatta Forna, author of The Memory of Love
“A searing novel about the choices people make for love, and for the place they call home.” —Laila Lalami, Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Moor's Account
“A good novelist blurs the imaginary line between us and them; Kamila Shamsie is the rare writer who makes one forget there was ever such a thing as a line. Home Fire is a remarkable novel, both timely and necessary.” —Rabih Alameddine, author of An Unnecessary Woman
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Isma, the eldest sister, a devout Muslim and the head of her British family, has practically raised her younger sister Aneeka and brother Parvaiz, who are twins. Their mother and grandmother have passed away. Isma has gone away to graduate school in the States. Parvaiz has left town to supposedly travel, while Aneeka is pursuing a law degree. They know only anecdotes of their deceased jihadi father who left to fight in Afghanistan.
Isma meets Eammon, the handsome son of the home secretary, once a rival of her father’s, who has denounced his Muslim background, married to a wealthy American, and worked his way up the political system. Eammon infiltrates, by accident or perhaps not, her family back in London and hooks up with the younger sister. When he tells his father of his impending plans, all hell breaks loose.
This is the real world. Where ISIS is stronger than young love. Family members take sides. And politics have the upper hand in the modern world.
A narcissistic, ambitious politician (Karamat-Creon) opposes the brave woman, in his pride and insecurity. Her lover (Eamonn-Haemon), the politician's son, eloquently pleads to his father on her behalf. His wife (Teresa-Eurydice) appeals to the politician's best self, his needs, and his desires. The media-chorus reflects popular judgments. Love and loyalty are compelling, in diverse relationships, but pride leads to tragedy, inevitably.
Shamsie's characters are richly developed and complex - especially the sisters. The women are strong and intelligent, passionate and dignified. Social tensions and cultural conflicts deepen the reader's empathy and understanding. This book is a pleasure, in language and imagery, intellectually and emotionally.
It's rare that a novel takes me from my recent hometown of Northampton, Massachusetts to Raqqa. An important well-written book of our times.
Most recent customer reviews
The best ending of any book I have ever read!
I could not put this book down!
While your hearts are yearning,
Though your lads are far away
They dream of home.Read more