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Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  5,891 ratings  ·  1,200 reviews
‘Djinns aren’t real, but if they were, they would only steal children because we have the most delicious souls’

Nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality cop shows, thinks he’s smarter than his friend Pari (even though she always gets top marks) and considers himself to be a better boss than Faiz (even though Faiz is the one with a job). When a boy at school goes missing,
...more
Hardcover, UK edition, 352 pages
Published January 30th 2020 by Chatto & Windus
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  • Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
    Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

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    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 3.87  · 
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    Paromjit
    Journalist and author Deepa Anappara draws our attention to the horrors and tragedy of the terrifyingly enormous numbers of children that go missing in India, a matter that is largely met by indifference in mainstream Indian society. The impoverished slums and community are depicted with an astonishing vibrancy as the people go about their daily lives and the challenges they face, lying within sight of the wealthy and powerful to whom the poor are invisible and a blight on their landscape. Annap ...more
    Marchpane
    Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line combines humour and warmth with tragedy and deprivation; innocence and optimism with bigotry and corruption. Despite the ‘djinn patrol’ of the title, there’s very little magic here.

    Set in a basti, or Indian slum, where children have vanished and the police are disinclined to help, the novel follows 9-year-old Jai and his friends as they play detective to try and solve the case. It’s an incredible window on daily life in such a place – the precarity of knowing
    ...more
    Paige
    Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: cultural
    I really enjoyed the atmosphere created. The environment reveals a distinct separation of classes and the varied lives according to social status and monetary value. Police negligence, religious violence, and educational values are exposed through this fictional tale set in India. The language was great, and I enjoyed the story being told through the eyes of nine-year-old Jai.

    “The man scratches at his feathery beard. “Kids around here disappear all the time,” he says. “One day they’ll have t
    ...more
    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    Thank you, Random House, for the gifted book.

    In Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, journalist and author, Deepa Anappara, has the reader firmly on the ground in an Indian basti, with its sights, sounds, and smells of the yummy food wafting through the neighborhood, and all of it is through the eyes of the lovable child narrator, Jai.

    The book draws attention to the large number of children who go missing in India daily. Did you know close to 200 children go missing there each day? Jai takes us alon
    ...more
    Matt
    Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: netgalley
    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Deepa Anappara and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

    Delving into to the darker side of life in India, Deepa Anappara presents readers with this most impactful mystery. With close to two hundred children disappearing off Indian streets daily, this story about a missing child leaves the reader feeling a little less than comfortable. Jai may only be
    ...more
    Carolyn Walsh
    Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This is a tragic story that underlines the shocking fact that an estimated 180 children go missing in India each day. It describes the religious, social, and financial divides problematic in modern India. The story immersed me in the vibrantly described sights, food and fragrances of its slum setting. Here the people mostly love their children and care for the people in their neighbourhood despite the poverty, drudgery, and the squalor in which they live. The trauma of missing children began to ...more
    Hannah Greendale
    Fourth read from the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction longlist.

    Most enjoyable for the richness of its sensory details. Cravings for samosas and tikka masala inevitably follow. It's easy to forget Deepa Anappara's protagonist is only nine years old, despite the occasional references to poop. The narrative structure is formulaic and the final chapters feel rushed, yet Anappara succeeds at piercing the smog-choked alleys of marginalized communities to reveal disturbing realities in present day India.
    ...more
    Lisa
    Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    [2.8] The strength of this novel is the vivid setting of the Indian basti (slum) and surrounding city that 9-year old Jai navigates. It is written as a light-hearted caper featuring Jai imitating a TV detective to find a missing friend. Until more children go missing and it is clear that there is a serious problem, it feels like a middle-grade novel. I ended up skimming the 2nd half. I'm not sure who the intended audience is - but it isn't me.
    Thank you to Random House for the ARC.
    ...more
    Faith
    Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    “Do you know there are people who will make you their slaves? You’ll be locked up in the bathroom and let out only to clean the house. Or you’ll be taken across the border to Nepal and forced to make bricks in kilns where you won’t be able to breathe. Or you’ll be sold to criminal gangs that force children to snatch mobiles and wallets.” Hundreds of children go missing in India and some do not survive. The author of the book wanted to draw attention to these facts, but she also wanted to show th ...more
    Louise Wilson
    Jail lives in a poor slum in India. Children start going missing and he decides to investigate like the detectives do in his favourite TV shows. But Jai is just nine years old. The local police are not interested in finding the children.

    The depiction of slum life is harrowing. It has also been sensitively written. Sometimes the book is a bit confusing and repetitive. The story is intriguing, funny and heart wrenching. I really liked Jai and his two friends who tried to find the missing children
    ...more
    Kathleen
    Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Anappara’s excellent debut novel is written from the POVs of children about children. As an Indian journalist, Anappara covered the deeply disturbing tragedy of children disappearing at the rate of nearly 180 per day. She felt that the personal stories of these children were getting lost amidst the appalling statistics. Thus, she wrote this novel primarily from the POV of Jai.

    Nine-year-old Jai lives in a huge Indian basti (slum) in view of the ‘hi-fi’ luxury apartment buildings where his mother
    ...more
    Michelle
    180 children go missing each day in India. Only 1 in 3 will ever be found. These are staggering statistics and the basis of this novel.



    Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is a coming of age novel set in the slums of an Indian city. Young Jai has a vivid imagination and a fascination with cop shows. When one of his classmates goes missing he enlists his two best friends, Pari and Faiz, into "detectivating" with him. As the three set about on their case we are introduced to the sights, sounds, and c
    ...more
    Neale
    Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Longlisted, and hopefully shortlisted, for the 2020 Women's Prize.

    The title of this novel may be a little misleading, a little baffling. This wonderful book is about children who are going missing from the basti of Jai, the nine-year-old protagonist. A “basti” refers to a slum village in India. The title of the book refers to the “djinns” who Jai’s detective partner. Faiz, continually insists are the culprits who are taking the missing children, and the purple line is the railway line that the c
    ...more
    Peter Boyle
    This promising debut is narrated by Jai, a nine-year-old boy who lives in an Indian slum with his family. Their one-room house is located beside a rubbish dump, in an area smothered by smog, but they have learned to make the best of their situation. When his classmate Bahadur goes missing, Jai, an enthusiast of TV crime shows, decides to investigate. Enlisting the help of his friends, the hardworking Faiz and clever Pari, the trio try their best to solve the mystery. It becomes clear that a corr ...more
    Hugh
    May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: modern-lit, read-2020
    Longlisted for the Women's Prize 2020

    I ordered this book before the Women's Prize shortlist was announced, but then gave priority to the shortlisted books, though this was one of the longlisted books that most interested me.

    The narrator Jai is a nine year old boy growing up in a basti (slum) on the edge of an unnamed Indian city, near the end of the metro line which gives the book part of its title. Fortunately the djinns and fantasy elements only exist in Jai's head - his reality is a grim one,
    ...more
    Trudie
    Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This starts out strongly but then becomes very repetitive somewhere along the way. The cover makes it seem like it will be a Boys Own Adventure type deal. It is not.
    Alice Lippart
    Great characters and fantastic setting, but repetitive plot.
    Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
    I read this book due to its longlisting for the 2020 Women’s Prize.

    The story is narrated in a simple first-person present tense (although one strewn with Hindi slang terms) by a nine-year old: Jai. Jai who lives with his parents and elder sister Runu (Runu-didi) in a basti (temporary turned permanent, slum district) in India. Runu is (to the extent Jai is a fan of real-life crime reenactment shows like “Police Patrol”, his two best friends are Pari (a bright girl) and Faiz (a Muslim, and believe
    ...more
    Dianne
    May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: best-of-2020
    Imaginative saga about a nine year old boy, Jai, who lives in a slum in India with his parents and older sister. A rash of mysterious disappearances of children and teens besets his basti (settlement), so Jai and his intrepid friends Pari and Faiz decide to use their TV-honed detective skills to get to the bottom of things.

    Jai is the narrator, and his voice is endearing - just right for a nine year old boy. The unfortunate part of that fresh and childlike narration is that, for me, it softened
    ...more
    Carmel Hanes
    Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    An interesting blend of endearing and horrifying, this novel takes us to a slum in India where children begin disappearing. The locals care, but get little help from police, who don't seem to care or take seriously the first disappearances. Nine year old Jai begins to investigate with the help of a couple of friends. Plucky, earnest, and influenced by television detective shows, Jai amuses and entertains the reader with his insistence on proper police procedures and his observations of others, i ...more
    Lou
    Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Indian debut novelist Deepa Anappara is a refreshingly original and wonderfully unique read. In a sprawling Indian city, three friends venture into the most dangerous corners to find their missing classmate. . . Down 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 ...more
    Daniel Chaikin

    "The horror of the destitute Indian basti, shown in Behind the Beautiful Forevers, is here captured through the fictional eyes of a 9 yr old trying to investigate as children start going missing. Anappara reported on these neighborhoods, and she captures the contrast between our hopeless view and that of children growing up in the Basti. I thought it was a little slow, and plain, but had some terrific elements, especially the opening section."
    That was my Litsy review. I'll note that I had just f
    ...more
    Leslie Ray
    Nine year old Jai, along with his friends Pari and Faiz are schoolmates who take it upon themselves to attempt to investigate the disappearance of one of their schoolmates. They try to be like the detectives that Jai watches endlessly on police shows. The police are not much help and the poverty of all involved hinders any help that they should be getting. During the children's' amateur sleuthing, more and more children continue to disappear, causing rifts between the Hindu and Muslim communitie ...more
    Helen Power
    Synopsis
    Set in Metropolitan India, this atmospheric novel follows Jai and his two friends as they search for their missing classmate.  Obsessed with a police television show, Jai is convinced that he will be able to find the boy, even when the police themselves are indifferent about the case. As more and more children go missing, however, it becomes clear that there is something insidious going on, and Jai's life will be forever changed by the events that unfold...
    My Thoughts
    This book is
    ...more
    Robert Blumenthal
    This is a really excellent, though somewhat intense and heartbreaking debut novel. The author was a journalist in India for years and became aware of the rampant kidnapping of children that are later trafficked. Instead of writing an article about it, she chose to write a novel from the point of view of a nine-year-old boy. His name is Jai, and he is a wonderful guide through this very important story that is filled with the joy and optimism of a nine year old. Children start to disappear from h ...more
    Garry Nixon
    Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: on-real-shelf
    Djinn Patrol takes us into the lives of people who live in a poor neighbourhood in the outer suburbs (at the end of the Purple Line on the metro) of a major Indian metropolis. The story is told by a nine year old who, with his two friends, decide to investigate the disappearance of children from their basti. They are children, but this isn't a children's book, so although it has some of the hallmarks of a whodunnit, there is no likelihood that the kids will solve the mystery.

    To narrate the stor
    ...more
    Krista
    “I told you it's a djinn,” Faiz says. “You won't catch it on the Purple Line.”

    First time novelist Deepa Anappara started her writing career as a journalist in her native India and in her author's blurb it points out that “her reports on the impact of poverty and religious violence on the education of children won the Developing Asia Journalism Awards, the Every Human has Rights Media Awards, and the Sanskriti-Prabha Dutt Fellowship in Journalism.” What could possibly be more important to wri
    ...more
    OutlawPoet
    Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: diverse
    What you need to know about this book is…

    It’s going to break your heart.

    It starts out with the most innocent children on earth, living in a land of abject poverty and corruption. And despite all the evils of their world, these kids are just so funny and pure. And you think you’re going to get a story that’s a bit adventure, a bit coming of age, and a sprinkling of magic.

    But, oh, this gets dark and tragic. I wish it hadn’t. I completely understand why it does – I was just unprepared after the set
    ...more
    Jill
    Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    The first chapter of this ingenious book is audaciously titled, “This Story Will Save Your Life.” The story, though, is not exactly uplifting: a boss-man named Mental, in Dickensian fashion, has 18 or 20 ragmuffin children working for him and he almost never raises his hand against any of them. Yet for boys who don’t have 20 rupees among them to rent a quilt for eight hours and who shiver under unlit streetlights, Mental is their messiah.

    The theme can be gleaned through this opening: even stori
    ...more
    Jan
    Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    How can such a tragic story be so charming and funny? Anappara’s debut novel creates a wonderful child narrator (along with a few other POV characters) and takes us deep inside their lives in an Indian slum. She beautifully shows us their energy, wit and determination while illustrating the fact than 180 Indian children disappear every day.
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    Deepa Anappara was born in Kerala, southern India, and worked as a journalist in India for eleven years. Her reports on the impact of poverty and religious violence on the education of children won the Developing Asia Journalism Awards, the Every Human has Rights Media Awards, and the Sanskriti-Prabha Dutt Fellowship in Journalism.

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