Home Fire promises to explore strain on relationships in the context of political scenarios and that is what it skilfully delivers.
The novel is about two families with origins in Pakistan who are living in the UK. In one home, Isma takes care of her twin siblings after the death of their mother at an early age. Their father had already left them to join jihadi forces in the East. His departure not only hurts them financially but also leaves them in a precarious situation with the authorities in UK. Isma sacrifices higher study in favor of putting bread on the table, working at a laundry shop nearby. She continues to do so till her siblings finish high school. That is when we are introduced to their world.
On the other hand is Eamon and his powerful politician father Karamat Lone.Lone has left most of his cultural heritage behind in favor of British values to get political approval. His criticism for Islam is lauded by a major chunk of the population while the UK Muslims struggle to prove their ‘innocence’ to the rest of their countrymen.
Through the interaction of these two families in troubling circumstances, Kamila Shamsie explores themes of love, sacrifice, and identity. Her writing focuses a lot of what the characters feel and what issues the Muslim community faces in the wake of media wide scrutiny. The POV chapter style of narrative helps the reader explore the story from different perspectives. All in all, Home Fire is a wonderful novel which deserves to be read.