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Home Fire
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2018 Book of the Month > April 2018 Home Fire

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message 2: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny | 680 comments Mod
seems like several people have already read this one so it will be great to see how we all feel about it


message 3: by Tasha (new)

Tasha The cover is so beautiful.


Diane Just finished it and I thought it a very good read.


JenniferD (jooniperd) | 343 comments i read home fire in march, and while there were parts i did like, overall i didn't love the novel as much as i had hoped i would.


message 6: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val It is a good read and I liked the way she made it about the family not the terrorists / activists themselves.


Diane Val wrote: "It is a good read and I liked the way she made it about the family not the terrorists / activists themselves."

Yes, I did too. Isn't this her first book? At any rate, I'm sure she has a good future ahead of her as a writer.


Carol (carolfromnc) She’s written a handful of novels prior to the excellent Home Fire.

Here’s a link to her author page for ease of reference.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show...


message 9: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny | 680 comments Mod
I'm just starting as I had to finish an in-person bookclub read first.

Am also listening in the car to her Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie so it's a Shamsie fest at the moment! and considering i haven't read her before I suppose by the end I will know how much I like her writing!


message 10: by Val (last edited Apr 13, 2018 03:58PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val I have read a few of hers (four, I think). They are all good, but I don't think I rated any of them 'amazing'.

Diane, you may be thinking of We That Are Young by Preti Taneja, which is a debut. I loved it and think it should have been on this list, but either it wan't submitted or the judges didn't agree with me.


message 11: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val How are you all getting on with this one?
The ratings are mostly positive from those group members who have finished it (three to five stars).

Which sister did you most identify with?
Did this change at different points in the story?


Lagullande | 76 comments Well I guess that, as a mother, I identified most with Isma, as she found herself in loco parentis following her parents' deaths. However, she faded away somewhat as a character, after being the focus of the story in the very early part of the book.


JenniferD (jooniperd) | 343 comments Lagullande wrote: "However, she faded away somewhat as a character, after being the focus of the story in the very early part of the book."

she really did. this was one aspect of the story that left me feeling disappointed. i was very invested in the character of isma and wanted more of her -- i missed her a lot once the focus shifted.


message 14: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny | 680 comments Mod
sorry I am a bit behind - I have finished Shamsie's other book Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie and still feeling the impact of that one. if any of you want to read more Shamsie give that one a go.

But now I start the totally different but with some similar themes Home Fire. I have found that many people have used Shamsie's writings in masters and Phd theses and come up with thousands of words about the issues raised in her writing. But is it a gripping story? that is the first question!!


message 15: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny | 680 comments Mod
on that point
what do you guys think about stories that are difficult to read yet worthy of being read?
I sometimes take an easy route and switch to crime etc and yet many of those are easily forgettable. Some other books require more effort by the reader and, whilst I might on a superficial level not 'enjoy' them as much, they remain in the memory, raise questions and require a sort of 'processing'. Does anyone else feel like this?
One of the books I am thinking of especially is We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver which could never be described as an easy read - neither in its subject matter nor in the way it is written - and yet it is such a valuable and important book that I am glad I have read. I wonder if writers set out to deliberately write in a particular way not necessarily making characters sympathetic or understandable - any thoughts?

For me Shamsie's Burnt Shadows is in this category. Some of it was hard reading and I wasn't 'gripped' but I don't think that was intended. I did want to continue but in a measured way. I will see how Home Fire compares but am interested in others' thoughts.


message 16: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val Penny wrote: "on that point
what do you guys think about stories that are difficult to read yet worthy of being read?"

It is often the books about difficult subjects which stay in my mind the longest. There are quite a lot of them on this year's list. I think they are worth reading if the author has something new or valid to say about the subject, which We Need to Talk About Kevin clearly did, but not if they are just wallowing in someone's misery.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished Home Fire the other day and absolutely loved it. It was a very emotionally powerful story but I didn't expect less from a book based of/a retelling of Antigone. One of my favourite reads this year so far.


message 19: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny | 680 comments Mod
Wow! We are on the button ! Very fitting time to be reading Shamsie


message 20: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny | 680 comments Mod
I have finished this now and find I agree with Jennifer in that I wanted more about Isma. I didn't really empathise as much with Aneeka. What did you think of the ending? (view spoiler)

I thought the whole book raised interesting questions about identity and nationalism - where does allegiance lay and is it still the same as it was 50 years ago. There lies the dilemma for the book because if it had continued the home secretary would face the same predicament as Aneeka and we don't know how that ends.

Is anyone familiar with Antigone? I'm not, so am not clear where the themes from Home Fire cross with Antigone.

I thought at the beginning this would help me feel a greater understanding of how people become terrorists or involved in extremism and yet this book has not really done that. Whilst I could see that the grooming could occur so insidiously I still fail to understand that people can be so naive as to serve groups that behead people.
A good book though - in my world though Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie is even better.


JenniferD (jooniperd) | 343 comments Penny wrote: "I have finished this now and find I agree with Jennifer in that I wanted more about Isma. I didn't really empathise as much with Aneeka...."


i am glad i am not alone... and it does seem to be a feeling many readers are sharing. it just felt like so much time went into the creation of isma, and it was sad to have her fade so much.

i was a little bit familiar with the antigone tale before reading the novel, so included a quick bit on it in my own review here:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 22: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny | 680 comments Mod
read your review Jennifer - thanks for putting up some links to the Antigone story. I feel we all came out with similar responses particularly about Isma - and I feel slightly smug that I felt that all on my own! (as this felt as if I should pay attention as there might be questions later!!)

However I do agree that Shamsie is an author worthy of investing time in and this is definitely one of the strongest books from the Prize for me that we have read recently. But Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie is better!!!!!


JenniferD (jooniperd) | 343 comments thanks, penny! i do think shamsie is a very talented writer. i've only previously read A God in Every Stone; haven't got to Burnt Shadows, but i'm happy to hear your endorsement. :)


message 24: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val She is a very talented writer and I will be delighted if she wins. I enjoyed reading this one and those of her others I have read, but this is not her best book. Anyone who did read this and liked it a bit should try some of her others.


message 25: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny | 680 comments Mod
Val wrote: "She is a very talented writer and I will be delighted if she wins. I enjoyed reading this one and those of her others I have read, but this is not her best book. Anyone who did read this and liked ..."

so which others would you recommend Val?


message 26: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val Burnt Shadows and A God in Every Stone are both good. I quite liked In the City by the Sea as well, but you may not if you don't like naive child narrators who don't understand what is going on.


message 27: by Ace (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ace (aceonroam) I have finished.

****POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW ****


This was my first by this author and I thought that it was a very good read, but I was wondering about why we had Isma towards the end in Karamat's kitchen with the whole fridge and the ice cubes, I was really looking for something more, like some history between them. If anyone has anything they can share about this scene that would be great.

Also, like Jennifer says in her review it's hard to see where this is a retelling of Antigone. Again I was left wondering, but only towards the end when I realised that this was an actual retelling. I probably would have abandoned this book at the point where Eamon goes to London to visit/meet Anneka and she goes home on the train with him. ** That was quite full on and I am surprised that he didn't think it was weird especially when she kept insisting on the secrecy of their 'relationship' if you could call it that. I thought, what does she see in this guy, unemployed, pushover???
**Then the British foreign secretary was appointed and it was all over the news and some of my other goodreads groups were talking about it. I picked up the book again as it was suddenly sizzling hot!

Apart from those points, I can relate a lot with this poor brothers stupid attraction to the 'hatred of the West army' in the name of God. It's not pretty and I think that the way that Shamise told this was quite brilliant.

Finally, can we have a sequel about Terry Lone?


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