Home Fire (novel)

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Home Fire
Cover picture of Home Fire.jpeg
Cover picture of Home Fire
Author Kamila Shamsie
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher Riverhead Books
Publication date
15 August 2017
ISBN 978-0-7352-1768-3

Home Fire (2017) is the seventh novel by Kamila Shamsie, reimagining Sophocles's Antigone in a contemporary setting. It won the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018,[1][2] and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

Development and publication history[edit]

Shamsie began Home Fire at the suggestion of London theater director Jatinder Verma that Shamsie write a modern update of Antigone, by Sophocles; she was interested in the project and quickly decided on what the story she would tell, though she preferred to pursue it as a novel rather than a play.[3]

The 288-page novel was published on 15 August 2017, by Riverhead Books.[4]


Home Fire is a contemporary reimagining of the Greek tragedy Antigone.[5] Akin to the play's five acts, the novel is set in five locations: London; Amherst, Massachusetts; Istanbul; Raqqa, Syria; and Karachi, Pakistan.[6]

The story begins with Isma finally liberated from responsibility. After spending years raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother's death, she resumes her dream, long deferred, of studying in America. But she can't stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, or their brother, Parvaiz, who has disappeared in pursuit of his own dream, to live up to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew.


The novel received widely favorable reviews. In The Guardian, Natalie Haynes said, "Shamsie’s prose is, as always, elegant and evocative. Home Fire pulls off a fine balancing act: it is a powerful exploration of the clash between society, family and faith in the modern world, while tipping its hat to the same dilemma in the ancient one."[5] In The Washington Post, Katharine Weber said the novel "blazes with the kind of annihilating devastation that transcends grief."[7] New York Times book critic Dwight Garner said Home Fire "builds to one of the most memorable final scenes I've read in a novel this century."[8]

Home Fire was longlisted as a candidate for the 2017 Man Booker Prize,[9] and won the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction [10][11][12][13]


  1. ^ Flood, Alison (6 June 2018), "Kamila Shamsie wins Women's prize for fiction for 'story of our times'", The Guardian.
  2. ^ Associated press (6 June 2018), "Kamila Shamsie's 'Home Fire' wins Women's Prize for Fiction", The Washington Times.
  3. ^ Dutta, Amrita (2017-08-06). "'When ultra-nationalism is on the rise, it divides citizens into those whom the state should be proud of, and everyone else'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2017-08-15. 
  4. ^ "HOME FIRE by Kamila Shamsie". Kirkus Reviews. June 6, 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Haynes, Natalie (10 August 2017). "Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie review – a contemporary reworking of Sophocles". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  6. ^ Chambers, Claire (August 5, 2017). "'The ones we love are enemies of the state'". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-08-15. 
  7. ^ Weber, Katharine (7 August 2017). "What is a sister's responsibility to her 'terrorist' brother?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  8. ^ Garner, Dwight (8 August 2017). "In 'Home Fire,' Lives Touched by Immigration, Jihad and Family Love". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  9. ^ Beer, Tom (August 14, 2017). "What to read this week". Newsday. Retrieved 2017-08-15. 
  10. ^ "Announcing the 2018 Women’s Prize winner!" Women's Prize for Fiction
  11. ^ "Women's Prize for Fiction: Kamila Shamsie wins 2018 award for Home Fire", BBC News, 6 June 2018.
  12. ^ Hedges-Stocks, Zoah (6 June 2018), "Women's Prize for Fiction 2018: Kamila Shamsie wins with Home Fire", The Telegraph.
  13. ^ "British Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie wins UK's most prestigious literary award for women", The Express Tribune, 7 June 2018.