Shamsie wrote her first novel when she was just 25 and still in college. She shortly received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literature in Pakistan in 1999. Her most recent novel uses the Greek tragedy of Antigone to tell the story of two Muslim sisters.
Initially, you meet Isma who is ready to resume a career in academia in America. She feels free and ready take on life after years of watching out for her orphaned younger siblings. However, things don’t go as per plan as she misses her flight and is detained by Security at Heathrow Airport. Through this ordeal, she also can’t stop thinking about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, as well as their brother, Parvaiz, who disappeared leaving his family behind to join the Caliphate. When he resurfaces half a globe away, its sets off an inevitable tragedy in Isma’s life.
Eamonn is introduced into Isma’s and Aneeka’s lives. He is the son of a powerful political figure- a spoilt rich kid. Eamonn sees his chance in love with one of the sisters and suddenly, two families’ fates are devastatingly entwined.
This novel spans half the globe, offers five very different stories, and tries to find the delicate balance between family, society, and faith. And the ending- is absolutely not what you would have expected.