I discovered and started this book under false pretences.
I heard about it via an interview on Eidolon with the author. Given the fact that I skimmed this article at work with half an eye on the register to ensure that I didn’t miss a customer, my comprehension was…lacking. Thus, my main takeaway was that this was essentially a modern-day retelling of Sophocles’ Antigone, and not much more–despite the second paragraph:
Like all successful retellings, Home Fire stands on its own merits —- no familiarity with Sophocles is needed to appreciate the novel’s elaborate interweaving of family and state. Like the most successful retellings, the novel casts new light on the original. With a particularly deft hand, Shamsie exposes the complex depths of humanity in Sophocles’ characters and displays how germane the story of the Antigone remains in today’s geo-political landscape. The novel was rightly longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for 2017.
To put it mildly, this book is stunning. Shamsie very deftly weaves a story that shares many characteristics and an overall arc with Sophocles original, but that still stands vibrantly on its own as a satisfying, melancholy story of modern fear and courage in the face of that fear. Definitely worth a read.