airport terminalSo many of us spend so much time consuming media about national and international politics, and yet it’s often difficult to apply the abstract concepts and faraway events we hear and read about to the concrete details and local happenings of our personal lives.

But then, sometimes things get personal.

While browsing through my fave local indie bookstore, I noticed a pretty novel on display. Its cover had a pink-and-blue, rose-and-streamers-like pattern, overlaid with two circles indicating two awards won. I bent it open and read these two powerhouse opening sentences:

“Isma was going to miss her flight. The ticket wouldn’t be refunded, because the airline took no responsibility for passengers who arrived at the airport three hours ahead of the departure time and were escorted to an interrogation room.”

What a lovely use of language; and this loveliness continues throughout Kamila Shamsie’s novel Home Fire. And what a beautiful opening setup for a novel about a British Muslim family torn apart by national and international affairs. Politics can’t get any more personal than finding oneself in an interrogation room. And this is only the first of a series of increasingly harrowing scenes in which politics crash into the lives of Shamsie’s characters.

In what ways have politics been personal for you?

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