Familial Relationships Gone Awry in ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie

in Fiction by

An emotional and timely novel, Home Fire is a compelling story about Muslim families in crisis. Isma is the responsible older sister of twins Aneeka and Parvaiz. Their mother and grandmother have passed away and the twins are now 18 years old, so Isma, having previously put her ambitions on the back burner to look after her siblings, is leaving her home in London to travel to America for a work opportunity. Aneeka is beautiful and intelligent and will be studying law in London, and Parvaiz vacates the country on a quest to learn about his father, a known Jihadist, who fought in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

In the US, Isma meets Eamonn, the son of a British politician who has a Muslim background like she does, but values that appear to be very different. It seems like a spark is developing between them but then Eamonn returns to London and gets involved with younger sister, Aneeka. Parvaiz is unfocused and becomes radicalized by a friend who under false pretenses convinces him to go to Syria where he is told he will learn more about his estranged father but has really been recruited to a terrorist group. When he decides he doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps but wants to return home to London, the law is not on his side and Aneeka is desperately hoping for help from Eamonn and his powerfully political father.

Government, loyalty to family and religious beliefs all come into play as author Kamila Shamsie skillfully writes about the Muslim immigrant struggle and the difficulties the innocent communities face due to extremists. I loved this book and believe it has great movie potential.


Kamila Shamsie has published five novels, including the very popular Burnt Shadowswhich was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in Fiction. Burnt Shadows has currently been translated in over 20 languages. She is a Pakistani novelist who writes in the English language and currently lives in London.



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Jennifer Gans Blankfein is a freelance marketing consultant and book reviewer. She graduated from Lehigh University with a Psychology degree and has a background in advertising. Her experience includes event coordination and fundraising along with editing a weekly, local, small business newsletter. Jennifer loves to talk about books, is an avid reader, and currently writes a book blog, Book Nation by Jen. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two sons and black lab.

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