Daughters of Smoke and Fire by  Ava Homa

Daughters of Smoke and Fire

Ava Homa

This is a necessary book about a very hard topic: the fate of the Kurds in Iran. A young woman, who wants to be a documentary maker, experiences things no one should be submitted to. I found it a hard read, not because of the language, but emotionally draining. That said: it’s well worth the effort. It gave me an insight into a brave and resilient people.


My hands trembled slightly, sloshing my tea. There was a pain deep in my chest that pierced my lungs with each breath. Revisiting these events I was so desperate to put behind me gave me flashbacks that felt more like experiencing the terrors anew. Chia took my hand in his own.

'Leila, I could use your help to complete this research project I've started. I've called it 'From Self-Reign to Self-Immolation: The Paradoxes in Kurdish Women's Lives,' and it's to be published in a human rights magazine in Canada. I can see how you turn pale and start chewing your nails every time I try to talk about the accident, and I think working on this together will help you, me, and other women who are in danger.'

'What exactly are you looking into?'

'Why it is that Kurds had female rulers and governors in the eighteenth century, at a time when that was unheard of among Persians and Turks, but now we have such high rates of suicide by fire. What happened to Kurdish women?'

'What happened to Kurdish men?' I asked. The sound of sirens outside startled me. 'I don't think I'm ready yet. Sorry.' I wanted to curl up and hide somewhere.

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