Nicole Abadee reviews 'Home Fire' by Kamila Shamsie

Nicole Abadee reviews 'Home Fire' by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire

by Kamila Shamsie

Bloomsbury $24.99 pb, 264 pp, 9781408886786

‘No man who is his country’s enemy shall call himself my friend. Of this I am sure.’

Creon, Antigone

‘I did not think your edicts strong enough to overrule the unwritten unalterable laws of God and heaven, you being only a man.’

Antigone, Antigone

Sophocles might not have foreseen when he wrote his tragedy Antigone in 441 BCE that the issues he explored would remain topical in 2017. In the play, Polynices, Antigone’s brother, has died whilst attacking Thebes, his own city, in a bid for the crown. Creon, king of Thebes, has ordered that Polynices’s body be left unburied, ‘to be eaten by dogs and vultures’, and that anyone who contravenes that order should be killed. To leave a loved one unburied was taboo in Ancient Greece; Antigone resolves to defy Creon and bury her brother. The fact that Antigone is betrothed to Creon’s son Haemon complicates matters, and the standoff between the unyielding Antigone and Creon triggers a conflict of epic dimensions. What on one level is a clash between the individual and the state is also a struggle between different generations and genders, and, at a more profound level, between justice and the law, eternal laws and human laws, loyalty to family and to country.

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Published in October 2017, no. 395
Nicole Abadee

Nicole Abadee

Nicole Abadee is the books writer for The Australian Financial Review Magazine. She also has her own business as a literary consultant, helping writers to polish their work before they submit it to publishers. Before she moved into the world of books, Nicole was a lawyer for almost ten years. She was a barrister at the New South Wales Bar and then a lecturer in International Law at The University of Sydney Law School. Nicole speaks at writers’ festivals and other literary events.

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