Can’t believe I’ve just discovered this novel from Kamila Shamsie. This awesome book was a deserving winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the UK in 2018. Its themes include family bonds, ambition, love, loyalty, grief, Muslim terrorism and British politics.

Two families’ fates become entwined – one family is Muslim, and the father died on the way to Guantanamo Bay; in the other, the father is a successful politician who rejected Islam. Through the stories of their children, we get inside the skin of Muslims living in the west in the 21st century. We begin to understand the complex political, psychological and emotional forces at play. We even experience the lies and manipulation ISIS uses to recruit jihadists.

And if that sounds too heavy or confronting, Home Fire (Bloomsbury Publishing, $15.99) is anything but. Not only is it written with great compassion and wisdom, it’s a spellbinding plot that builds to a stunning climax. I let out a howl when I realised I’d reached the end – and quickly re-read the final chapter.

By Kim Irving

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