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Home Fire

by Kamila Shamsie

A modern take on an old story told from the viewpoint of five Muslim characters linked by family and faith. It feels very opportune in the present climate and clearly highlights the conflicting loyalties and social stigma of being a Muslim in Britain. At the centre are some very uncomfortable moral questions. I was struck by the unique bond between siblings twisted and tried to its limit – but ultimately impossible to break. An excellent novel.

Extract

But this was not grief. It did not cleave to her, it flayed her. It did not envelop her, it leaked into her pores and bloated her beyond recognition. She did not hear his footsteps or his laughter, she no longer knew how to hunch down and inhabit his posture, she couldn't look into a mirror and see his eyes looking back at her.
This was not grief. It was rage. It was his rage, the boy who allowed himself every emotion but rage, so it was the unfamiliar part of him, that was all he was allowing her now, it was all she had left of him. She held it to her breast, she fed it, she stroked its mane, she whispered love to it under the starless sky, and sharpened her teeth on its gleaming claws.

Parallels

The State - TV series
 

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