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Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire (2017)

by Kamila Shamsie

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1,0036214,091 (4.12)211
"From an internationally acclaimed novelist, the suspenseful and heartbreaking story of a family ripped apart by secrets and driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences. Isma is free. After years of watching out for her younger siblings in the wake of their mother's death, an invitation from a mentor in America has allowed 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 prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. When he resurfaces half the globe away, Isma's worst fears are confirmed. Then Eamonn enters the sisters' lives. Son of a powerful political figure, he has his own birthright to live up to--or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz's 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?"--… (more)



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English (59)  Dutch (3)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Read 2017, favourite. ( )
  sasameyuki | May 14, 2020 |
A very powerful book (well everyone says that). The account of how ordinary people can become terrorists is very valuable - and chilling. Definiteloy anyone interested in our times should read ( )
  ptg | Apr 19, 2020 |
I had heard that this book was very good. After all it won the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction. It still took me by surprise at how relevant and well-written the book was.

In a part of London near Wembley stadium three children were raised by their mother as their father was off being a Muslim freedom fighter. Isma is the oldest and she raised the twins, Aneeka and Parvaiz, after their mother dropped dead of a heart attack. She got a job in a dry cleaning outfit and managed to pay bills and look after the twins until they reached adulthood. Now she can return to her studies and she has been offered a place in an American university where a former professor now works. Parvaiz left home soon after he graduated from high school. He was supposed to be going to Pakistan where the family had relatives but he never showed up there. He is occasionally online and his twin has heard from him but he doesn't contact Isma. Aneeka is going to law school at the London School of Economics (she is only 19 and in Canada she wouldn't be accepted into Law School until she had at least 2 years of University but I checked the LSE website and they do accept students with top notch high school grades) and she is staying with the woman who is their neighbour, Aunty Naseem. Isma meets a fellow Brit at a coffee shop she frequents and she recognizes him as Eamonn Lone, the son of a prominent Tory politician. Although the Lones are Muslim they do not practise the faith and Karamat Lone has made a name for himself as being hard on British-born Muslim terrorists. Isma knows Mr. Lone and his family because she appealed to him to learn more about her father's death after being captured by Americans and sent to Guantanamo. Mr. Lone refused to do anything for the family. Nevertheless Isma finds herself drawn to Eamonn and she eventually tells him of her father and how Eamonn's father let them down. When Eamonn returns to London he goes to visit Aunty Naseem and Aneeka and soon he and Aneeka are involved in a passionate love affair. Aneeka has not told Eamonn about her brother but when he proposes to her she reveals that she started seeing him because she thought he might be able to influence his father to let Parvaiz come home. Parvaiz has become disillusioned with ISIS and wants to return but they are holding his passport. Will Mr. Lone, who is now Home Secretary, help? I can't reveal more but I will say that the ending is dramatic and surprising.

In the acknowledments section the author says that a friend suggested she adopt the story of Antigone in a contemporary context. I suppose if I knew my Greek myths better then the ending would not have been a surprise. However, I am rather glad I didn't know this because I did read that section before I finished the book and I think that would have taken away from the drama of the ending.

If you have ever wondered how young people get influenced to leave home and join terrorist organizations then this book will explain it. It is truly an insidious process. ( )
  gypsysmom | Mar 29, 2020 |
This was chosen by my Bookclub, Escape and we all liked it. It’s a good book for discussion as it’s about current issues. I grew into this book as I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to find out more about what was happening until about halfway through. The book is in sections, each giving the point of view of a different character. It was a surprise read, for me with an unexpected ending. I loved it! ( )
  Carole888 | Mar 4, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this but just didn’t understand the last chapter ( )
  karenshann | Dec 31, 2019 |
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The ones we love .... are enemies of the state.

- Sophocles, Antigone ( translated by Seamus Heaney)
For Gillian Slovo
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Isma was going to miss her flight.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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