Daughters of Smoke and Fire: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

There are important books that awaken us to the trials and humanity of people far from our shores, the stories of which we have previously been unaware. Daughters of Smoke and Fire is such a book. Leila and her brother Chia are Kurds, growing up in Iran where their existence is cause for suspicion and harassment. Their angry mother and beaten father cannot protect them from the brutality of their daily lives. Luckily there are friends and strangers who heroically show kindness or inspire hope. As her brother grows increasingly political, Leila questions her role in this society that often condemns her for being a woman. She begins to find answers once it becomes clear she must be the voice for those who are now voiceless. Ava Homa’s beautiful storytelling is a testament to the power of such a voice. —Luisa

— From Elaine and Luisa's Picks: Spring 2020

About the Author

AVA HOMA is a writer, journalist, and activist specializing in women’s issues and Middle Eastern affairs. She holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Windsor in Canada. Her collection of short stories, Echoes from the Other Land, was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Prize, and she is the inaugural recipient of the PEN Canada-Humber College Writers-In-Exile Scholarship. She was born and raised in the Kurdistan Province in Iran and now divides her time between Toronto and the Bay Area. Warrior Butterflies is her debut novel.

Praise For…

"At a time when the Kurds are so much in the news in Iraq and Syria, the Iranian government has erected a wall of silence around its own much larger Kurdish population. This magnificent novel penetrates that wall with its story of coming of age, oppression, and death. Beautifully written, it is the best new work of fiction to emerge from the Near East in a long time.”

— Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith

“There is no more urgent a task for humanity than more fully knowing one another. . . . This desperate gift is what comes our way from Ava Homa, a brave and brilliant storyteller, the first female Kurdish novelist writing in English who shows us, through one family’s story, the stakes faced by the Kurds. Read this book. Raise your voice. We can no longer afford the ‘us and them’ mentality if we are to survive.”

— Joy Kogawa

“Gripping . . . Daughters of Smoke and Fire is a haunting piece of political fiction and a gut-punch tale of an alienated Kurdish girl swimming upstream against a tide of sexism and ethnic hatred. The scars Homa bears as a Kurdish feminist reared under Iranian rule and living now in the ‘cruelty of exile’ are evident on every page.”

— Kevin McKiernan

“A coming-of-age story that layers intergenerational trauma and political commentary on a decades-long epic. . . . Homa’s portrait of Kurdish life in Iran brings readers closer to lived experiences that force questions of identity, homeland, and the traumas we inherit.”

— Booklist

Daughters of Smoke and Fire is a compelling narrative of consciousness and empowerment that skillfully intertwines the personal and political, joining a story of suffering and trauma with one of love and desire. The novel is striking and original in its refusal to romanticize life under oppression. It is a story of visible and invisible scarring, of violence and suffering transmitted across generations, of gender oppression and political exclusion and silencing, but it is also a moving and timely novel of hope and transformation, and of self-liberation.”

— author of Kurds and the State in Iran: The Making of Kurdish Identity
Product Details
ISBN: 9781419743092
ISBN-10: 1419743090
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: May 12th, 2020
Pages: 320