The Homecoming sat on my bookshelf at college for six months collecting dust along with the other 15+ books I foolishly took with me to school thinking I would actually have time to read. I felt bad for not reading many (any) of them, but I felt extra-contrite about not reading this one for two reasons: 1) Because my dad gave me this book, and 2) Because the author is a good family friend of ours.
To me, this book epitomizes the sentiment of having the rug yanked out from under your feet. We begin with a settled, happy protagonist and end with a wholly different picture. Warrier does an excellent job of painting both portraits, and of illustrating the series of events that brings the characters from one to the other. He handles the matter of Irfan's guilt beautifully and, while never giving the answer outright, puts out enough choice pieces of information to provide the reader with a clear verdict by the end of the novel. He presents the reader with not just the story of a family, but also the story of a country at odds with itself and its people.
The Homecoming spares no details, no matter how harrowing they might be, and leaves the reader with a startlingly honest picture of not only the Kashmir conflict, but also of the brutal potential, the irony, and the unyielding force of human nature.
It was a slow read almost until the end, so don't go for this one expecting an action thrill of any kind. Because it was measured in pace, the plot allowed for a great deal of contemplation and speculation on the part of the reader. This is one I definitely recommend for older audiences, perhaps 16+, simply due to the heavy/dense subject matter. However, if you are a particularly precocious reader, nothing should stop you from reading this wonderfully moving, evocative novel.