Year 2 / Book 53: Home Fire

53) Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

A bonus book sneaking under the wire that I finished on New Year’s Eve. Looking back at the year’s reading, I can see that I’ve done better on gender split this year (28 male authored books, 25 female authored books) but well over half are crime, detective or police thrillers. So am aiming for a bit more non-fiction and literary fiction in year 3.

This book fits the bill of the latter, as it’s been heavily recommended in all the ‘end of year’ round-up lists of best books of 2017, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a riveting tale of three siblings (an elder sister and twin brother and sister) who are Muslims living in the UK (and also America). In different ways, they get embroiled in a whole range of political and personal issues and the two clash consistently. Not least because both sisters take a shine to Eamon (or Ayman) who happens to be the son of the new, first ever Muslim Home Secretary. Oh yes.

It’s very cleverly done, and builds to what seems like an inexorable and inevitable climax – I don’t want to give too much away; unfortunately, I’d read that it was a retelling of a classic Greek tragedy, and if you know anything about Greek tragedies then you know someone (possible everyone) is going to die. So I won’t go into too much detail in the plot; suffice to say that it feels incredibly current, live, challenging and insightful…but also has moments of great lyricism. A prescient and compelling book to end 2017 with, and one that accurately reflects our times. Highly recommended.

Score: 8.5/10


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