Review of Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


my friends all read this for a separate ap lit class but i read this on my own for fun and i liked it a lot!! because i didn’t formally discuss it in class with analysis or anything, i feel like some of the prose/imagery/symbolism went over my head, but i have to say i LOVED the themes and characters home fire explored. it rly made me reconsider:

  • the concept of justice, and how we always view it in a western context
  • the quote “‘she’s going to look for justice in pakistan?’ that final word spoken with all the disgust of a child of migrants who understands how much his parents gave up — family, context, language, familiarity — because the nation to which they first belonged had proven itself inadequate to the task of allowing them to live with dignity.” is so relevant to an aspect of the asian immigrant diaspora today… although there’s a difference between fleeing out of discontent vs more economic opportunity in west vs forced to flee as refugees
  • super interesting to read about the conflicts between muslims in the west vs eastern beliefs vs different methods of coping with being alienated (karamat’s ideal of assimilation vs standing out proudly).
  • yes, obviously the reader is more sympathetic to parvaiz/aneeka/eammon’s situations, but karamat serves as an excellent and FASCinating foil to contrast all of this with his assimilation preaching, and the westernized perspective of so many cultures where shedding your old skin can benefit you.
  • it discusses that ever present western vs eastern divide… there’s overseas terrorism but twitter has been opening my eyes a lot to how insanely prevalent (and evil) western imperialism is

while i haven’t yet read antigone, i read the wikipedia summary! and it’s pretty obvious who’s who — karamat as creon, aneeka as antigone, etc etc — but i really liked this reimagining in relation to islam and age of ISIS. i wish i had the chance to go over it in class for a way more fleshed out exploration but i think having to think for myself about themes and analysis was a pretty cool experience too ??

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