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Daughters of Smoke and Fire

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4.31  ·  Rating details ·  607 ratings  ·  168 reviews
The unforgettable, haunting story of a young woman’s perilous fight for freedom and justice for her brother, the first novel published in English by a female Kurdish writer

Set in Iran, this extraordinary debut novel takes readers into the everyday lives of the Kurds. Leila dreams of making films to bring the suppressed stories of her people onto the global stage, but obst
...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 12th 2020 by Harper Perennial (first published 2020)
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Isha No, not for a 13-year-old. 15 maybe, depending on the maturity level but I wouldn't recommend it. The book deals with gruesome details about war, rape…moreNo, not for a 13-year-old. 15 maybe, depending on the maturity level but I wouldn't recommend it. The book deals with gruesome details about war, rape, affair, sexual assault, murders and harsh family topics. It is up to your judgment but I wouldn't let a 13-15-year-old read it. (less)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Five star book coming up! I buddy read this one with my dear friend, @bibliobeth, and it's the perfect book to discuss with friends. I’m going to jump right in with this one because I have limited characters and lots of gushing to do. Daughters of Smoke and Fire is the first book published in English by a female Kurdish author. Let that sink in for a minute.

Not only that but it’s one of the most well-written, well-everything books I’ve read this year. Set in Iran, with mostly Leil
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Maria
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Abrams Books for a gifted copy in exchange for an honest review!

Unforgettable is one way to put this novel. WOW. I learned so much about the devastating history of the Kurdish people. The stereotyping, the loss of their own history, language and customs was just absolutely devastating to read about. It's all vital to our cast of characters, who are bravely fighting for equality.

Topics like this aren't really my thing (ummm I skipped history class in high school all the time). But I di
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Trinity Bingaman
I got the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Daughters of Smoke and Fire. I read this book faster than I have ready any book in a long time. Every time I picked up this book, I was in the story. Every emotion felt, flower smelled, and hug shared, I was experiencing. Every sorrow, heart break, and every crime against humanity, I felt. This book did not make want to start a revolution, it made me want to throw myself into the revolutions happening all around me. I am so happy to be a woman, a ...more
Lisa
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engrossing, powerful novel about a young woman and her family's oppressive experience living as Kurds in Iran. Homa artfully wove Leila's story along with the history of the Kurds and Kurdistan. I knew very little about the Kurds and am grateful for the education this novel gave me. ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Leila and Chia are siblings in Kurdistan, technically in the Kurdish part of Iran, when their father is named an enemy of the state and not allowed to work. Their family struggles for money while both children also try to get an education, but the odds are not in Leila's favor (and she wants to be a filmmaker in a region that polices everything including books and films.) Then her brother disappears....

In my year of reading more in the Middle East, this novel came at a perfect time. The author i
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Lou
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel honoured to have read the first book to be published in English by a female Kurdish writer; it is a powerful fact meets fiction narrative showing the everyday lives of Kurds, their struggles and their continued persecution. This is a politicised coming-of-age tale destined to shatter your heart into pieces yet it is written in such a sublime fashion by such a devastatingly deft hand that you simply can't look away. Set in modern-day Iran, we are introduced to Leila, an ambitious young Kur ...more
Joan Carpenter
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an advanced copy of Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava Homa. Just finished reading it Saturday morning. Powerful. I am still crying at the ending and can't properly articulate. The author writes about the struggles of the Kurdish people of Iran The world needs to hear this powerful story. The narrative is inter woven with the natural beauty of the authors homeland; a place I will probably never be able to visit in my lifetime. ...more
Sue
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that, like last year’s A Woman is No Man, I will be thinking about for a long time. What it means to be a woman varies greatly between different societies and religions. The ethnicity one is born into can make life difficult based on prejudice. Daughters of Smoke and Fire addresses both with such grace.

Leila is a young Kurdish woman living in Iran. She dreams of going to university and making films about the oppressed life of her people one day. Her younger brother,
...more
Barred Owl Books
The unforgettable, haunting story of a young woman’s perilous fight for freedom and justice for her brother, the first novel published in English by a female Kurdish writer

Set in Iran, this extraordinary debut novel takes readers into the everyday lives of the Kurds. Leila dreams of making films to bring the suppressed stories of her people onto the global stage, but obstacles keep piling up. Leila’s younger brother Chia, influenced by their father’s past torture, imprisonment, and his deep-sea
...more
Ako
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The writer carries you through the story with herself in such way that you feel you are in the vein of her blood stream, feeling her pain, her fear, her confusion, her rage and anger. It is more than a story. It’s a life experience. Brilliant storytelling. Enchanting prose
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Cindy Burnett
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daughters of Smoke and Fire is a fabulous read, and I learned so much about the Kurdish people. I highly recommend this one. I interviewed Ava for my podcast, and you can listen here: https://www.thoughtsfromapage.com/ava... ...more
Brandie
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It is not the type of book I normally read on my own but more of a book club type read meaning it would lead to a great book discussion. This is a book of a really heavy topic but presented in a very readable format. It is informative. I knew little about the plight of the Kurds. It is unfathomable what evil exists. We hear stories on the news about civil rights violations in the US which are mild compared to what this book covers. I always say, "You know ...more
Abby Rubin
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a difficult but important story to read. Leila just wanted to make films. Her trials and tribulations of growing up female in a patriarchal society are compounded by the fact that she is a Kurd in Iran and her family is broken. It is not clear whether her parents love each other, her father was never the same after he got out of prison, and her brother is on a similar path as he joins the fight as an activist to fight Iran's oppressive regime. Homa's moving and powerful book takes you t ...more
Sofia Bachman
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of this novel. Ava Homa draws you into the story until every choice protagonist Leila makes becomes your choice and deeply resonates. You feel every success and failure in her journey. This story inspired me to become more aware about Kurds in Iran and human rights issues. Homa has succeeded in both creating a story that anyone can read and spotlighting Kurds' ongoing struggles. She has truly woven a masterpiece, and I highly recommend this book to all ...more
Stacey Bene
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to The Overlook Press for the ARC of Daughters of Smoke and Fire. I adored this book. It’s reminiscent of some of Khalid Hosseini’s work. This book told the story of a Kurdish woman in Iran over a few decades. It highlighted the injustices against the Kurdish population. I fell in love with the characters, especially, Leila. I could feel her grief and frustration through the pages. Excellent writing.
Lindy Pokorny
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daughters of Smoke and Fire has everything you could possibly want in a book: love, hate, despair, triumph, the intrigue of one extraordinary individual's story, and the power that story has to represent millions. With beautifully crafted prose, Ava Homa paints a picture of a revolution that is both national and intensely personal, and the careful development of Leila's character ensures that you will feel everything as deeply as she does. I learned so much by reading this novel, not only about ...more
Ehsaneh Sadr
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book! I read it in almost one sitting. As an Iranian-American novelist and (one-time) human rights activist, I was ashamed to realize how little I knew about the experiences of the oppressed but proud Kurdish-Iranian community. What a privilege and honor to learn so much through the medium of an incredible story told with gorgeous prose and heartbreaking characters. The first part of the book was especially resonant as a poignant representation of how outward injustice so often manifests ...more
Sam
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read an advanced copy of the book. Reading this book felt like a shocking yet profound conversation where my role was that of a quiet listener who inevitably walked away with a renewed, deep, and profound appreciation for Kurds. Perfect timing. Impeccable writing. Brilliant storytelling, compelling characters.
Neda
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read an advanced copy of the book. Daughters of Smoke and Fire was a brilliant book that captured my attention and engaged me from the beginning. The main character’s journey touches you in a very unique way. You will find yourself experiencing every feeling that all characters are, all the pain, all the cry and smile. A story that stays in your heart and mind.
Zagros Rêbaz
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daughters of Smoke and Fire
A Mirror to Our Suffering

“Sleep, Chia, sleep. Not because it's time to sleep, but because being awake is a sin here, and the punishment is beyond what human bones can stand. I should remember that words are sinful in this forgotten part of the world. Thinking is a “crime,” writing is “enmity against God,” and talking is “terrorism. The newspapers are blank, the walls are spies, television is the greatest liar, and speaking out is off limits.”

I take literature too serio
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Brenna
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an exceptional novel.
My father is a Kurdish Iraqi that immigrated to the US in his twenties on refugee status and lost many family members to the Kurdish genocide. The atrocities cited in this book felt all too familiar, based on stories handed down to me by my father from his own experience. However, to have the perspective of a Kurdish woman, in the protagonist of Leila, a whole new empathy emerged for me to understand how excruciatingly difficult it was for a Kurdish women to live a
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Toya (the reading chemist)
I’ll be honest, Daughters of Smoke and Fire was not initially on my radar since I don’t typically read a lot of political fiction or literary fiction for that matter. That being said, I was drawn to the synopsis because I am not well versed in Middle Eastern culture, and I do try to branch out of my comfort zone for reading in order to constantly challenge myself and beliefs.

The story follows the life of Leila, a young Kurdish woman growing up in the turmoil of Iran. Leila dreams of going to Uni
...more
Frances Baca
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel had me captivated from beginning to end, I didn't want to put it down for a moment. This is the kind of story telling that will stick with you for years to come. ...more
Mary Walters
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daughters of Smoke and Fire is a truly outstanding novel. That it is also a first novel makes the achievement even more impressive, in part because the underlying focus of the work is the inhumane treatment to which two groups of people – women and Kurds – are subjected in Iran. It is often difficult for writers of novels with plots that are precipitated by political injustices to avoid the temptation to lecture, to moralize, to explain, and to condemn, but Ava Homa has masterfully avoided such ...more
Kasha
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful ,haunting,full of sadness and full of hope.So current.We live blissfully unaware of suffering and pain.We dont think people are still today denied theire language and culture.Beautiful writing ,one of those books which stays with you.
Lainey Cameron
This book hits on some weighty topics and is not a light read, but that’s exactly why it’s essential, and 100% worth your time. Many of US in the West have read headlines about the Kurds, of terrifying events in Syria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq (the countries that made up Kurdistan). We’ve heard of life in Iran under Khomeini, of the morality police of “Enjoining Good and Forbidding Vice” who targeted women who behaved out of line with society’s expectations of staying demure.

All of that can seem overw
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☁️ priya ☁️
“In the meantime, a massive and frightening bleakness inside me kept expanding and rattling. Sometimes I wrote about it in my diary, sensing that if I didn’t somehow fill the hollowness, it would swallow my heart and spit out my core. Other times I wished for the emptiness to scrape me off, a permanent erasure.
I was terrified that I was supposed to be living and I wasn’t, that I must have some prospect and I didn’t.”

“If I could pack my unhappiness into snowballs, I would throw them at these peop
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Nancy Middleton
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this powerful and beautifully written novel. The story focuses on a young Kurdish woman's struggle for freedom, artistic expression, and self-actualization within Iran's oppressive regime—yet it is also about intergenerational trauma, human rights, and the challenges facing the millions of stateless Kurds in the world today.

This is a compelling and original narrative of one woman’s empowerment and personal transformation. Despite coming of age in a
...more
DL Link
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this with a reading group and didn't think it was going to be my cup of tea, but I was surprised. It was engaging, engrossing, and a great read. Flew through it and couldn't put it down. ...more
Lauren
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this as part of the Goodreads giveaway program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I appreciate the opportunity.

I think this is a significant book but it is not a well written one. The story of a Kurdish woman who comes to political consciousness after the arrest of her brother is an important one as is the way trauma is passed down through generations and the fact that women internalize trauma into an opportunity for self-harm. I also think, as Americans, there is so little we
...more
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Ava Homa is a writer, journalist, and activist. DAUGHTERS OF SMOKE AND FIRE (May 2020) is her debut novel published by the HarperCollins in Canada & ABRAMS in the US. Her collection of short stories Echoes from the Other Land (Mawenzi, Toronto, 2010) was nominated for the 2011 Frank O’Conner Short Story Prize and secured a place among the ten winners of the 2011 CBC Reader’s Choice Contest, runnin ...more

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Let's face it, this year's class of first-time authors is seeing its debut novels launch into a world much different from what anyone in the...
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“Time passed. I wasn’t sure how long I lay there among the flowers, behind a huge stone on the hill, fantasizing about a serene nonexistence.” 1 likes
“In the meantime, a massive and frightening bleakness inside me kept expanding and rattling. Sometimes I wrote about it in my diary, sensing that if I didn’t somehow fill the hollowness, it would swallow my heart and spit out my core. Other times I wished for the emptiness to scrape me off, a permanent erasure.
I was terrified that I was supposed to be living and I wasn’t, that I must have some prospect and I didn’t.”
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