Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire opens with a scene of humiliation. Isma is about to miss her flight: airport security staff refuse to believe a designer jacket can really belong to her, and they are keen to know ‘her thoughts on Shias, homosexuals, the Queen, democracy, the Great British Bake Off’. It is not simply her ethnicity or her religion that has marked the protagonist out for attention; it is her family too. As the daughter of a jihadi, someone else’s reputation precedes Isma and her siblings wherever they go.
Identity is at the heart of this finely crafted novel: who you are and how you are perceived both within the family and in the public sphere. A devout Muslim who has raised her sister and brother, twins Aneeka and Parvaiz, from their adolescence, Isma is pursuing a new life