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Home Fire

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  50,008 ratings  ·  5,461 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published August 15th 2017 by Riverhead Books (first published August 2017)
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Gemma In the play too, Antigone seems preoccupied with her own glory and actively seeks out death as the penalty of respecting her dead brother in order to …moreIn the play too, Antigone seems preoccupied with her own glory and actively seeks out death as the penalty of respecting her dead brother in order to win glory for herself. So in terms of narcissism. Yes. Big time and I think this novel captures that aspect of her character brilliantly. Shamsie perfectly captures the way in which her actions and behaviour are extreme and unpleasant and really not at all likeable and yet there is an innate justice in what she wants to achieve through them. I really didn’t think it was possible to create that in a modern retelling of this story. I’ve been absolutely floored by this novel. (less)
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Jack Cheng That's a great connection that non-Bollywood fans would not know! Thanks for pointing it out; I would be extremely surprised if Shamsie was unaware of…moreThat's a great connection that non-Bollywood fans would not know! Thanks for pointing it out; I would be extremely surprised if Shamsie was unaware of this convergence.(less)

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  50,008 ratings  ·  5,461 reviews

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Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british, pakistan, booker
Just announced as the winner of Women's Prize for Fiction. So happy the novel finally got the recognition it deserves.

4.5* rounded up.

Home Fire is the candidate I support to win the Booker Prize. Well, I only read 4 nominees until now so it is not a definite opinion. However, it is highly unlikely that I will make too much of an advancement in my reading of the longlist until the shortlist is published so it will probably remain on top for a while.

If you read a few reviews you will realize tha
Larry H
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
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
Elyse  Walters
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Update ... WINNER for the women’s prize of fiction for 2018!!!!!


Personal and political life merges together in the most heartbreaking of ways when a man loves a woman whose family is connected to a Muslim terrorist.
The author explores justice, love, and passion in ways that can be compared to older classics - think Romeo and Juliet - yet set in modern time.
Beautifully written - poetic - great character de
Diane S ☔
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are so many timely subjects right now, world concerns and threats, and authors have responded in kind. This novel features two Muslim families in Britain, two families that have very different opinions on family and how to show or display their Muslim beliefs. It moves the themes in Sophocles, Antigone to present times. I remember very little about Antigone, refreshed my memory on Wiki, but I cannot really knowledgeably comment on the adequecy of the comparison.

The novel starts out slowly
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
im not familiar with the story of antigone, so i cant comment on how this compares as a retelling. but as a story about family, sacrifice, and identity, this is one to undoubtedly make you think.

which i have. its actually taken me awhile to think about how i want to rate/review this. immediately upon finishing, my gut reaction was 3 stars. its an good story but nothing great. it quite short, so there isnt a lot of development, which leads to a lack of deep connection with the characters, even if
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
When the Booker longlist was announced, this was one of the books that most interested me, because I really enjoyed Shamsie's previous two novels (A God in Every Stone and Burnt Shadows). I was a little nervous when I read that this is a modern retelling of Antigone, because my knowledge of the classics is very limited, but it is a fine book and another one which would make a worthy winner.

The book is in five sections each of which focuses on a different character. I found the first slow going -
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a powerful and gut-wrenching book loosely based on Greek mythology's story of Antigone, a woman defying a king to secure her brother an honorable burial. I knew this going in, so I did some research on Antigone so I could appreciate the parallels as they unfolded.

"Home Fire" is told through 5 viewpoints: sisters Isma and Aneeka, their brother Parvaiz (Aneeka's twin), British Home Secretary Karamat Lone and his son Eamonn. Isma, Aneeka and Parvaiz are Muslims living in London and Amherst,
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
A remarkably short Novel that delivers on an epic scale. A story of family ties, loyalty and a story of prejudice in the modern world. A thought provoking and intelligent novel that left me wanting to read more of Kamila Shamsie's work

This is another one of those books upon finishing I cant help regretting I hadn't read this as part of a group read just for the discussion factor as there is so much to discuss.

The Novel has a very powerful opening wih Isma a Muslin woman struggling to be admitte
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Grief was what you owed the dead for the necessary crime of living on without them.

Literary retellings have had a day in the sun the past few years. From simply updating to a modern setting to different points of view to recast the story in new light or toying with a story until it is almost unrecognizable. Kamila Shamsie Home Fire, winner of the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction succeeds as a modern retelling by expanding both upon the perspectives of a Greek play but also expanding our understa
Paul Fulcher
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, booker-2017
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
Roman Clodia
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delighted that this has now been recognised as the magnificent book it is: well done Women's Prize panel!

Inspired by Sophocles' Antigone, this has a slightly shaky start but then soars into an outstanding tragedy of love, politics, justice and humanity. By drawing on Athenian tragedy, Shamsie makes the point that clashes of civic law vs a deeper, more humane sense of what is right have always been contested, and the tension between family and state always problematic. What she does so brilliant
Shamsie’s novel was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize for 2017. It is topical: two British families with Muslim religious roots and Pakistani backgrounds cone together in a doomed pas de deux . The author Shamsie, according to cover copy, grew up in Karachi, and yet in her picture she has the round eyes of a Westerner. The cultural difficulties she writes of may not be too difficult for her to imagine, I’m guessing.

I read this novel very fast—it has a strange, porous density to it. The meanin
Congratulations to Home Fire for winning the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction!

I don't know why I'd been under the impression that Home Fire was going to be a kind of loose, 'blink and you miss it' retelling of Antigone, but I'm almost glad that that had been my expectation, because the reality of this book completely caught me off guard. And I loved it. In this novel Kamila Shamsie gives us a fearless adaptation set in present-day London, following two Muslim families both grappling with famil
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: over-rated, fiction
I can't believe this, I'm absolutely gutted I did not like this book. What a disappointment :(

I have been looking forward to reading Home Fire ever since I heard about it last year and I was convinced this was going to be one of the best 2018 ones for me. I could not have been more wrong. Home Fire is a book with lots of potential as the story centers around British Muslim siblings whose father joined a jihadist group. Sounds very promising, doesn't it? Such a timely, interesting topic, and one
Dannii Elle
First Read: April 2018, Rating: 5/5 stars
Second Read: May 2020, Rating: 5/5 stars

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 embarrassm
Richard (on hiatus)
Although a generalisation (and there’s a few in this review!), I think it’s fair to say that most of us don’t know that much about other religions.
We don’t understand orange robed Buddhists with their chanting, meditation and bell ringing. We don’t get the ultra hard line versions of Christianity that seem to preach hate and distrust more than love. We are bemused by the Jehovah witnesses that refuse hospital treatment and try to convert us on the doorstep ......... and we really can’t get our h
Retellings that bring classic works into the present day are tricky. Our relatively comfortable modernity looks awkward in the classical garb of heightened pathos, all-consuming emotions, and the kind of stakes that begin at ‘life or death’ and actually get higher from there. Even Jane Austen’s relatively recent domestic stories tend to founder in a modern setting – marriage just isn’t the big deal, economically and socially, that it was back then. Shakespeare usually fares better, if only becau ...more
It's probably me.

This happens to me not infrequently these days. I read a book. I can recognise, intellectually, that it is well written. The concept is an intriguing one - to re-write the Antigone story in an up-to-date setting (and it IS very up-to-date); it has a lot to say about the state of politics in our twittering, tweeting world, in our world of asymmetrical warfare; the characters resonate, the writing never jars, the font is large enough, it sneaks in at well under 300 pages so I can'
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
This was a 3-star read for most of the book, but the last section was so phenomenal that it elevated the entire novel to something really special. Shamsie establishes the sovereignty of her own story before really diving into the Antigone references at the end, and she plays with a range of themes from Antigone and addresses contemporary issues without diminishing either goal. I leave this book with a much deeper sense of how complicated it is to be a British Muslim than I've gotten from any no ...more
This is a timely reworking of Antigone about issues of citizenship and state power. It's topical and relevant. But that symbolic framework of the tragedy is also its limitation. My problem is with the romance and ending to fit the tragedy. It felt forced, almost cartoonish. Some characters are paper thin and in a book of multiple perspectives, this inconsistency weakens it. A novel that's good in parts but underwhelming as a whole. I was disappointed.

(view spoiler)
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oh wow! What a thought-provoking and emotional read! I was not expecting such a powerful and cleverly written work of fiction. Home Fire tackles a difficult yet important subject matter - the humanistic impact of modern day terrorism.

The reader is brought into an all-too-familiar scenario in which people of Muslim faith are automatically branded as Jihadists and suspected of sympathizing with terrorist activities. The prejudices and "extra security measures" these folks are subjected to is expl
Sep 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, contemporary
Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother's death, she is finally studying in America, resuming 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.

A modern retelling of Antigone set amongst a family divided by politics, love, and radicalism.

Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
A timely examination of what it means to be a Muslim in a hostile Western modern society where pre conceived notions are at odds with some horrifying realities. It took me awhile to fully invest in this book and about mid way I was deeply absorbed and felt the immense force and power of this book. I felt a deep connection with the plight of the characters and how parts of their personal story unravel to really make you understand the complexities of the issues surrounding them. The author reveal ...more
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Winner of the 2018 Women's Prize. And a book which seems uncanningly prescient given the recent change in Home Secretary.

A book I originally read due to its longlisting for the 2017 Booker prize and by an author whose previous works I have not read.

In the stories of wicked tyrants men and women are punished with exile, bodies are kept from their families –their heads impaled on spikes, their corpses thrown into unmarked graves. All these things happen according to the law, but not according t
This book reminded me of why I love fiction so much.

Sometimes I pick up a book for escapism, sometimes to be challenged by a writer who is a master with language, occasionally it's because I feel obligated to read a particular book. Home Fire reminded me that if I was to distill my enjoyment down to one factor it would be the pleasure to be had from placing yourself in the minds and lives of others. Particularly when these others are experiencing things you thought you could never understand.
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Audiobook performed by Tania Rodrigues 7h 54 min

A shortlist candidate for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018.

If my reading of longlist nominee Miss Burma was the least read book, then Home Fire certainly appears to be one of the more popular reads of my fellow reviewers. Written by Kamila Shamsie, a British-Pakistani author, Home Fire strikes a relevant chord in the post 9/11 world where discrimination against Muslim men and women in our airports, media, and among the general public is
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I keep seeing books that somebody has reviewed or wants to read that I lost with my lost account. This was an easy five star for me. You don't have to know anything about Antigone to appreciate this wonderful book. ...more
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Kamila Shamsie was born in 1973 in Karachi, where she grew up. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While at the University of Massachusetts she wrote In The City By The Sea , published by Granta Books UK in 1998. This first novel was shortlisted for the John Llewelyn Rhys Award in the UK, and Shamsie rec ...more

Articles featuring this book

  When it comes to retellings of literary classics, there are the books that follow the original tales closely (think 2018's smash...
70 likes · 13 comments
“For girls, becoming women was inevitability; for boys, becoming men was ambition” 51 likes
“Grief was what you owed the dead for the necessary crime of living on without them.” 36 likes
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