Djinn patrol on the purple line A novel

Deepa Anappara

Book - 2020

"Based on a true story--Nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality police shows, thinks he's smarter than his friend Pari (even though she gets the best grades), and considers himself to be a better boss than Faiz (even though Faiz is the one with a job). When a classmate goes missing, Jai decides to use the crime-solving skills he has picked up from TV to find him. He asks Pari and Faiz to be his assistants and together they draw up lists of people to interview and places to visit. Bu...t what begins as a game turns sinister as other children start disappearing from their neighborhood. Jai, Pari, and Faiz have to confront terrified parents, an indifferent police force, and their fears of soul-snatching djinns. As the disappearances edge ever closer to home, the lives of Jai and his friends will never be the same again. At times exuberant, at times heartbreaking, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line traces the unfolding of a tragedy while capturing the fierce warmth and resilience of a community forged in times of trouble"--

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Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Bildungsromans
Novels
Published
New York : Random House 2020.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
pages cm
ISBN
9780593129197
0593129199
Main Author
Deepa Anappara (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Enamored of police reality shows, nine-year-old Jai decides to become a detective himself when a classmate goes missing from his impoverished urban Indian settlement. Hoping to solve the case, he enlists the aid of his two best friends, Faiz and Pari. Their mettle is tested when other children begin disappearing, and the corrupt local police ignore the situation. Faiz, a Muslim, is convinced that an evil djinn is responsible, while Pari pooh-poohs that notion and Jai equivocates. But if not a djinn, then who or what? Clearly something evil is at work as more and more children disappear; finally, even Jai's older sister becomes a victim. Jai bitterly decides he's not a detective after all, and even the solution of the mystery fails to bring him closure. The author has done an excellent job of telling her sometimes sad story in Jai's credible nine-year-old voice, and her treatment of her setting, with its ingrained social inequities, is a model of verisimilitude. Best, however, is her characterization, especially that of Jai, who comes to life on the page to live on in readers' memories. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Anappara's witty, resonant debut tracks a series of child disappearances from an Indian slum through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy. Jai lives with his friends Pari and Faiz in a slum next to a rubbish dump and the crowded Bhoot Bazaar, part of an unnamed city constantly beset by smog. An opening tale of a local benevolent ghost named Mental introduces the children's shared magical thinking. When Jai and his friends learn that one of their classmates, Bahadur, has been missing for several days, Jai, a fan of police shows, decides that he and his friends will do their own detective work and find Bahadur since the police show little interest in the matter. Jai's carefree nature lends a lighthearted tone to an increasingly grim tale as more children disappear and his team of sleuths find evidence pointing to a serial killer. His quest is aided by Pari's voracious reading habits, which make her the better detective, and Faiz's Muslim faith, which helps them stay on course when his community is blamed for the kidnappings. Interspersed with the trio's investigation are single chapters devoted to each of the disappeared children. The prose perfectly captures all the characters' youthful voices, complete with some Hindi and Urdu terms, whose meanings, if not immediately obvious, become clear with repetition. Anappara's complex and moving tale showcases a strong talent. (Feb.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Based on a true story--Nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality police shows, thinks he's smarter than his friend Pari (even though she gets the best grades), and considers himself to be a better boss than Faiz (even though Faiz is the one with a job). When a classmate goes missing, Jai decides to use the crime-solving skills he has picked up from TV to find him. He asks Pari and Faiz to be his assistants and together they draw up lists of people to interview and places to visit. But what begins as a game turns sinister as other children start disappearing from their neighborhood. Jai, Pari, and Faiz have to confront terrified parents, an indifferent police force, and their fears of soul-snatching djinns. As the disappearances edge ever closer to home, the lives of Jai and his friends will never be the same again. At times exuberant, at times heartbreaking, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line traces the unfolding of a tragedy while capturing the fierce warmth and resilience of a community forged in times of trouble"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In an award-winning debut based on true events, a 9-year-old reality-television enthusiast in India uses crime-show approaches to investigate the disappearance of a classmate, before additional abductions shatter life in his sprawling city home.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Discover the “extraordinary” (The Washington Post) debut novel that “announces the arrival of a literary supernova” (The New York Times Book Review),“a drama of childhood that is as wild as it is intimate” (Chigozie Obioma). WINNER OF THE EDGAR® AWARD • LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • The Washington Post • NPR • The Guardian • Library Journal In a sprawling Indian city, a boy ventures into its most dangerous corners to find his missing classmate. . . .Through market lanes crammed with too many people, dogs, and rickshaws, past stalls that smell of cardamom and sizzling oil, below a smoggy sky that doesn’t let through a single blade of sunlight, and all the way at the end of the Purple metro line lies a jumble of tin-roofed homes where nine-year-old Jai lives with his family. From his doorway, he can spot the glittering lights of the city’s fancy high-rises, and though his mother works as a maid in one, to him they seem a thousand miles away. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line plunges readers deep into this neighborhood to trace the unfolding of a tragedy through the eyes of a child as he has his first perilous collisions with an unjust and complicated wider world. Jai drools outside sweet shops, watches too many reality police shows, and considers himself to be smarter than his friends Pari (though she gets the best grades) and Faiz (though Faiz has an actual job). When a classmate goes missing, Jai decides to use the crime-solving skills he has picked up from TV to find him. He asks Pari and Faiz to be his assistants, and together they draw up lists of people to interview and places to visit. But what begins as a game turns sinister as other children start disappearing from their neighborhood. Jai, Pari, and Faiz have to confront terrified parents, an indifferent police force, and rumors of soul-snatching djinns. As the disappearances edge ever closer to home, the lives of Jai and his friends will never be the same again. Drawing on real incidents and a spate of disappearances in metropolitan India, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is extraordinarily moving, flawlessly imagined, and a triumph of suspense. It captures the fierce warmth, resilience, and bravery that can emerge in times of trouble and carries the reader headlong into a community that, once encountered, is impossible to forget.