The Man Booker-nominated novel begins with an airport scene that will be familiar to many Muslimsby Rafia Zakaria / September 13, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Kamila Shamsie’s Man Booker-nominated novel Home Fire begins with a scene that will be familiar to many Muslims. A western airport, a suspicious security guard and a humiliated subject whose belongings are displayed for inspection. The traveller in question is Isma who has just started her PhD in America. Luckily, she has rehearsed her answers with her younger sister Aneeka, whom she has raised along with her twin brother since their parents’ deaths.
As the story unfolds, we learn that Isma has more reason than most to be worried. Her father abandoned the family years ago to become a jihadist and died while being taken to Guantanamo, leaving the shadow of suspicion forever on his children. And her brother Parvaiz, following in his footsteps, has joined Islamic State.