Excerpt from Daughters Of Smoke & Fire by Ava Homa, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Daughters Of Smoke & Fire

A Novel

by Ava Homa

Daughters Of Smoke & Fire by Ava Homa X
Daughters Of Smoke & Fire by Ava Homa
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  • First Published:
    May 2020, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2021, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Naomi Benaron
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There was a long pause. "They did all of that. They even raped the young women they sentenced to death because they believed virgins would go to heaven and that those opposing the state should only go to hell. They didn't call it rape. They called it a marriage, to make it somewhat religiously acceptable. They believed all of that. Or maybe they didn't. They knew it was a game of power and lust, didn't they? They must have!"

"Baba," Chia said gravely, "I promise to become a lawyer one day and bring them all to justice."

Baba looked into the distance with a blank expression on his face. Then he suddenly turned back to his son. "But my name was always called during daylight. You think I was one of the lucky ones?"

Chia was unable to answer.

Baba's lips twitched into a bitter sneer. "You do, I see it. All they ever did to me was whip me and then turn me loose so I could live like this, like a dog begging for scraps to feed my children. You can't understand it. I was once young too, had hope, thought that I could change things if only I tried hard enough. My dream was to read stories into a loudspeaker for hundreds of elders relaxing in a large meadow. You won't believe it, but I was a dreamer at one point. You know, son, there is more dignity in death than in a life like this."

He took a pull from the bottle of arak he'd stashed beneath the couch cushion, stood, and made for the attic stairs. As he passed my room, he locked eyes with me, still hunched in the shadow. So he knew I was eavesdropping the entire time. Chia remained seated.

I quietly closed my bedroom door and plugged in the iron. My hands shook as I moved the old heavy thing across another of my father's dark shirts. La'nat Awa.

The whip had indiscriminately left its crisscrosses on our backs. I put aside the iron, hugged Baba's hot shirt, and inhaled the smell of him. My tears left widening dark spots on his clothes.

Our region was one huge mass grave: Some lay silent; some cried out from under the earth.

My father needed nursing just as much as the helpless Kurds in Iran, the homeless ones in Iraq, the hopeless ones in Turkey, and the stateless ones in Syria.

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Excerpted from Daughters Of Smoke & Fire by Ava Homa. Copyright © 2020 by Ava Homa. Excerpted by permission of The Overlook Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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