Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
With her stunning debut, former journalist Deepa Anappara combines the innocent wonder and nameless horrors of childhood into a very compelling novel. Nine-year-old Jai, who lives in the slums of an unnamed Indian city, loves reality cop shows. He considers himself an amateur sleuth, intent on getting to the bottom of the disappearance of many of his classmates, especially since the actual police don’t seem to care that the kids are going missing. Anappara draws on her background as a reporter, highlighting India’s volatile class and ethnic tensions and building her gripping story around the very real fact that nearly 200 children go missing in India every day. Even as rumors spread amongst Jai’s crew that monsters and evil spirits are behind the disappearances, we never mistake their tragedies for a fairy tale. These are characters we won’t soon forget.
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.
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
I learned so much from reading this book. I was impressed by how raw and real the sadness yet resilience of children was portrayed. It seemed to cross the boundaries of fiction. I felt their emotions so vividly. Despite the fact that their was some humor in Jai’s descriptions, the theme is very sad, as the saga of missing children in India continues. It’s a story that must be told.