8. If you believe in love as destiny, reach for Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire.
Kamila Shamsie has a command over language that is extraordinary, a way of distilling situations into a few well-chosen words that drip with beauty and context. Home Fire is a marvelous retelling of the Greek tragedy Antigone – a sister seeking justice for her brother, even though the entire world might think him wrong. In London, responsible elder sister Isma looks after her twin siblings after their Jihadi father dies on way to Guantanamo, and their mother passes away soon after. The twins behave like a single soul, their relationship uncanny and surreal. When the brother is lured away, by ISIS to Syria, and begins looking for a way back, his twin Aneeka would do anything to deliver him back to safety – including beginning a tumultuous affair with the son of the Home Secretary. But it is a dangerous, passionate, mysterious game that unfolds… The triangulated relation of lover-beloved-brother is tender, unearthly, nothing more needed between them than a touch and two words. It is very much a novel of the times, of families torn apart in meaningless exchanges of fidelity, identity, faith. Yet it is an age-old story, of having to choose between the impossible and the improbable. A book that is for the heart.