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Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

by Deepa Anappara

The disappearance of children is investigated by 9 yr old Jai and two pals who live in a ‘basti’ (communal village) near a railway line in India. Beautiful descriptions of the ever changing weather and light, the noise and the smells, especially of food as the children are always hungry. Very funny despite the dangers the children face and the horrors that unfold. A brilliant debut novel long listed for the Women’s Prize 2020. I loved it.

Extract

I look at our house with upside-down-eyes and count five holes in the roof. There might be more, but I can’t see them because the black smog outside has wiped the stars off the sky. I picture a djinn crouching down on the roof, his eyes turning like a key in a lock as he watches us through a hole, waiting for Ma and Papa and Runi-Didi to fall asleep so that he can draw out my soul. Djinns aren’t real, but if they were, they would only steal children because we have the most delicious souls.

Parallels

Gachar Gochqar by Vivek Shanbag
The Collector of Words by Iliya Troyanov
 

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