Home Fire Background

Home Fire Background

Published on 15 August 2017 by Riverhead Books, Home Fire is the seventh book written by the British writer Kamila Shamsie. The book has been shortlisted for multiple awards since its publication and in 2018 won the Women’s Prize for Fiction. In April 2019 the book was serialized for BBC Radio 4 and later listed by BBC News on its 100 most influential books. It is a modern retelling of the Greek legend Sophocles’s Antigone featuring a quote from the play in its epigraph: “The ones we love ... are enemies of the state.” This contemporary take highlights the political tensions and issues of identity surrounding the Muslim community in Britain.

It is a story about loyalty, identity, and sacrifice revolving around a family of British Muslims following a tragedy. Once a twin sibling dies following the dark path of his jihadist father, conflict ensues and the siblings and other parties are now at a crossroads. Akin to the Greek tragedy, the narrative has a dedicated protagonist, Aneeka, willing to defy the state to ensure the proper burial of her brother, Parvaiz. It also delves into the current political climate and the Muslim identity by exploring the character Karamat Lone, a Pakistani conservative in British politics.

The novel is split into five sections mirroring Antigone’s five acts with each dedicated to a character in the five different location settings. BookPage said, “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.”

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