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Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
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WINNER of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2018

Kamila Shamsie’s seventh novel is a modern-day retelling of the story of Antigone, “ingeniously” set among a group of British Muslims, said Edmund Gordon in The Sunday Times. Like Sophocles’s play, it is about the “different kinds of loyalty owed to the family and the state, and what happens when they come in conflict”. At its centre are three siblings – Isma, Aneeka and Parvaiz – whose father, a jihadi, was captured in Afghanistan, and died en route to Guantánamo Bay. Although Isma and Aneeka are pursuing respectable careers, Parvaiz has taken a different path: he travels to Raqqa to join Islamic State. Written in “propulsive and unfailingly elegant prose”, Home Fire is “brave and brilliant”.

Those familiar with Antigone will find much to enjoy in Shamsie’s reworking of the myth, said Sarah A. Smith in Literary Review. But even without any knowledge of the original, the novel is “utterly plausible”. Gripping and thought-provoking, Home Fire deserved its Man Booker longlisting, said Arifa Akbar in the London Evening Standard. Easily Shamsie’s “strongest” novel, it is a “deeply original” work.

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