“Ingenious… Builds to one of the most memorable final scenes I’ve read in a novel this century.” —The New York Times
WINNER OF THE 2018 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
FINALIST FOR THE 2019 INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE
The suspenseful and heartbreaking story of an immigrant family 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, 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 prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. When he resurfaces half a 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?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
It’s not every day that a book literally takes our breath away. Kamila Shamsie’s story about a London family living in the dark shadow of their dead father, who left home to fight as a jihadi overseas, is a phenomenal success. Complicated, magnetic characters, quicksilver prose, and a plot that’s fast-moving, smart, and suspenseful—Home Fire has them all. It’s a thrilling, emotional read exploring the ripple effects of nationalism and xenophobia.
Shamsie's memorable novel features timely themes in this epic tale of two Muslim families whose lives are entangled by politics and conflict. As the novel opens, 28-year-old Isma is on her way to the U.S. for a Ph.D. in sociology. She's left behind her siblings, 19-year-old twins Aneeka and Parvaiz, in London. One of the first connections Isma makes in Amherst is an old friend of the family 24-year-old Eamonn, whose father was just elected home secretary of London. Though Isma is immediately smitten, Eamonn only has eyes for Isma's beautiful sister, Aneeka, whom he vows to meet after seeing a photo of the girl at Isma's apartment. When back in London, he tracks Aneeka down and the two fall into a secretive affair, hiding the truth of their relationship from her family. But what Eamonn doesn't realize is that Aneeka has a reason for being with him besides true affection she wants his help in getting his father to allow safe passage and immunity for Parvaiz, who joined the media arm of a jihadist group in Syria. The novel is separated into five parts, and each reveals a portion of the story from a different character's perspective. The highlights are the sections devoted to Parvaiz's recruitment and personal transformation they're both salient and heartbreaking, culminating in a shocking ending.