Making the most of the global quarantine by trying to read as many books as possible 🙂
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is Deepa Anappara’s debut novel and one of the books long listed for the Women’s Prize 2020 category, and I can see why.
Where do I start? Umm, lets see. Have you guys heard of or even better, watched the Oscar winning movie – Parasite? Did you love the movie? its subtle humour, but the core shattering message hidden underneath the story. Think of this book, its narration and its story, as one such masterpiece.
The story is simple, if you read the blurb at the end of the book. Children start going missing from the the settlement where our protagonist, Jai lives. Jai is a 9 or 10 year old boy who sets out to solve the case of of the missing children with two of his best friends from school – Pari and Faiz.
The trio from this book reminded me so much of the early years of Harry, Hermoine and Ron. Pari is so much like Hermoine, and Jai like Harry, while Faiz like Ron. Even though Jai, Pari and Faiz don’t have magical powers or go to a school of magic to fight the evil Voldemort, they believe in magic, in djinns and ghosts and fairies. They have a child’s spirit, a child’s kindness, a child’s fervour, a child’s imagination, and a child’s hope that makes it utterly adorable to read.
The story is narrated from Jai’s perspective mostly, but sometimes in between, the author tells us three stories about ghosts, and djinns who can save your life. Another life line probably for the reader. And then there are the chapters from the PoVs of the missing children, right before they go missing. The author’s narration style is so riveting and light hearted, that you don’t want to stop reading and have many laugh out loud moments as a reader, despite all the horrible things happening in the background.
Although the story is about trying to solve the case of the missing children from the basti, its not just that. Very subtly, through her seamless narrative style, Deepa Anappara brings into light issues on the huge class divide that we live in – where the very poor and the very rich are literally separated just by a wall, and yet, the distance between their lives are so wide figuratively. We get glimpses of sexism, about political agendas and how politicians use any scenario to create a divide between the Hindus and the Muslims. We get a look at the solidarity of the people living in the basti, when all their children go missing together, irrespective of religion. You and I know a lot of these issues already, being an informed Indian, but still, reading about them, makes you squirm. Especially when you are the ‘hi-fi’ person living in the isolation of your society.
And finally, I have to talk about the ending – it shattered me. I was not expecting it. Maybe you will expect it as a reader, but I wasn’t. I can’t talk much about it without giving away spoilers, but that ending was apt, if not ideal for me.
I would highly recommend this book, but however, do look out for trigger warnings on child abuse, child kidnappings, alcoholism, sexual abuse, when you read it.
Questions to you guys:
Have you read the book? I really want to discuss the ending..what did you think?
What is a book that is full of hope but tears your heart at the end, that you read and loved?