Five Reasons Why You Should Read Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

There's been a lot of buzz around Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire and for good reason. Here's five reasons why you should pick it up immediately:

1. The modern retelling of Antigone is spot-on. I have read Sophocles' play four times and Home Fire does an excellent job of making some critical parallels but also maintaining it's own identity. I will say that you don't have to read the Greek tragedy, but it will enhance the experience if you have or do. 

2. The structure of the text, which maintains a third-person narration but provides the vantage point of the major characters in their own sections, works perfectly for the pacing of this story. Everyone possessed their own depth, revealing their strengths and weaknesses.  

3. Shamsie is brave enough to humanize a member of ISIS, but she doesn't attempt to demand sympathy, either. The social and political sentiment in timely and important. 

4. The familial relationships are incredibly strong but also ridiculously conflicted. So many of the characters were tested- what will you do for you brother? Twin? Son? Father? This would make an outstanding book club selection for that thematic component alone. 

5. Shamsie's writing is beautifully simplistic and complicated at the same time. Her descriptions are detailed without being over-the-top and the emotion she evokes palpable.

I am pretty much recommending this book to everyone I see, including all of my students, since they read Antigone last spring. It's really that good, I promise.

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