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Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  349 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Three friends venture into the most dangerous corners of a sprawling Indian city 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 jumble of
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Random House
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  349 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
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 too
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
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
The Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line combines humour, warmth and wit with tragedy and deprivation: innocence and optimism with bigotry and corruption. Despite the ‘djinn patrol’ of the title, there’s 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
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
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
[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.
Helen Power
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
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In her debut novel, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Deepa Anappara examines the epidemic of missing children in India through the eyes of a naïve, TV-obsessed young boy living in the slums. When a boy from Jai’s school goes missing, he decides to use his detective skills learned from watching too many episodes of Police Patrol to find him.

This was a book that confounded many of my expectations. Based on the premise of djinns in contemporary society, I was expecting a magical realist depiction
I was sent this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Nine year old Jai is obsessed with reality crime shows and detectives. When one of his classmates goes missing, he ropes his friends Pari and Faiz in to help look for the boy. When others start to disappear, finding out what happened becomes the most important thing in Jai's life. Child narrators can be difficult to capture in print and can often annoy the reader but the author manages to convey Jai's childlike innocence combined ...more
Jan 01, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is fairly interesting: set in modern India, three children begin investigating the disappearance of their classmate. We learn that 180 children go missing in India everyday--which is probably one of the most horrifying statistics I've ever learned. I ended up googling more about it...and it's just really awful.

I've definitely never read a book set in India, written by an Indian author,
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-kindle
I found Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line to be an absolute page turner. I was a bit confused in the beginning with the structure, but after a couple of chapters I was hooked.. If you read much Indian literature, you may not learn much, but this is a new twist on structure and the writing is excellent. Each of the three sections starts with a "chapter" titled This Story Will Save Your LIfe. I would describe these as folklore and are probably my favorite sections. Each child who disappears has a ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jai is nine years old and lives with his family in the slums of New Delhi. He loves watching reality cop shows, especially Police Patrol (presumably a fictionalised version of Crime Patrol), waits hungrily for his mother to bring back special food from her job as a maid in one of the ‘hi-fi’ flats of the city, and is watched over by his older sister, Runu, who dreams of becoming a successful runner and winning a sports scholarship that will allow her to escape. When children start disappearing ...more
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tender, heartwarming novel yet a harrowing read! A dichotomy, I know, but nonetheless true. Anappara talks about the harsh reality of poor Indian families living in slums, the corruption of governmental institutions(I really liked this hilarious yet evocative phrase describing the police: The letters P and O are missing from the Keep's side, so it reads LICE), the high rate of child abductions, illicit rings involved in child smuggling; social constrains especially for girls/women etc through ...more
Alyssia Cooke
Whilst the beginning of this really caught me with the story of Mental and how his ghost continues to help those street boys in need of him, once the main tale got going I found myself plodding along with no real purpose. I'd say the strongest aspects of this novel are the beginning and the end, but the middle seems to lose pace or direction, instead relying on lots of repetition and drawn out scenes of a child playing detective. The best scenes tended to be the shorter ones from the ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jai is nine years old. He lives in a slum in the shadow of high rise (hi fi) apartments in an unnamed Indian city. He goes to school; his family has food on the table; he is addicted to crime documentaries on TV. He is on the cusp of leaving childhood as he has an emergent adult awareness of the perils and opportunities around him.

So when an unloved classmate goes missing, Jai rounds up a posse of friends and embarks on detective work to try to trace him. Gradually more children disappear, but
My thanks to Random House U.K. Vintage Publishing/Chatto & Windus for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line’ by Deepa Anappara in exchange for an honest review. This is her debut novel and was published on 30 January.

“Three weeks ago I was only a schoolkid but now I’m a detective and also a tea-shop boy…”

In a shantytown (basti) in an unnamed Indian city, nine-year-old Jai lives with his parents and older sister. Jai attends school and hangs out with his friends. He is
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this in a goodreads giveaway. It’s an interesting and thought provoking story
Sakina (aforestofbooks)
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
The Writing

I did read the arc version, so while the format wasn’t that great, I was completely taken with the writing style.

I’ll admit, at first I found the use of Hindi words in the actual dialogue and narrative to be a bit jarring and weird. But then it hit me the reason why. It just felt so real. They were words I understood, words that I’ve used myself, words I’ve heard my mom use a lot at home (how many times has she called my brother a goonda lol). It felt like home. And I hadn’t expected
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-2020
You can read my full review on my blog, The Writerly Way, here.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an eARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.

I’m a really simple person. I see Djinn, I pick up a book. That’s it. Unfortunately, the Djinn weren’t really a thing in this, which was … disappointing? I have so many mixed feelings about this book that the review was really hard to write.

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is so much more than a mystery. It’s an exploration and
Kim Bakos
Nov 19, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked it up and tried to read it three different times - only made it to about page 80 before I gave up.
It was really hard for me to get into this book. The first thing that I didn't care for was the use of so much Indian word choice w/o a glossary. I don't mind being exposed to other languages, but it is nice to have some way to understand it. Yes, you can understand the story w/o knowing the meaning of all the words, but I prefer to learn rather than to ignore.
The story is written for
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is a hard read, not because the prose is intricate or the plot overly complex. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is a hard read because it takes what to many of us are abstract wrongs—huge inequalities in wealth; indifferent law enforcement; the vulnerabilities of children, especially those who are poor—and makes those wrongs concrete. The novel is set in India. While many of its details are specific to India, the issues it wrestles with are more global.

Children are
Karen Barber
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with the chance to read this prior to publication.
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is the kind of story that only really shows its significance once you reach the end.
Our main character, Jai, is a rather innocent nine year old. He watches too much tv, is obsessed with real-life crime stories and plays cricket. He spends his time with his friends doing the kinds of things many nine year olds will do. Then children in the area he lives start to go missing.
Andy Weston
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
9 year old Jai lives in a sprawling slum in an unnamed city in India, in the shadow of the luxury apartments in which his mother works. A classmate vanishes and young Jai is presented with an opportunity to practice his ‘detectiving’ skills that he has gathered from TV shows. As the weeks go by more children disappear and despite the protestations of the residents the police do nothing.
As much as it may seem like a whodunnit type novel with an unusual detector, it isn’t, it turns unexpected
Eddie Generous
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to appear in Unnerving Magazine Issue #12
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anappara writes with from the clear and innocent viewpoint of a child growing up in poverty and part of a strong community experiencing horrors that are rarely written about in Western media.
I loved almost everything about this book; the story was haunting, the narration was charming and I loved that there was no glossary to work out common parlance and the small bits of Hindi used.
I'm not a huge fan of the first person narrative but that's a me problem, and not something that detracts from the
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is a novel about a group of children trying to solve the disappearances that have been happening around the slum they live in. Jai is nine and watches too many real life police TV shows, so when a boy from his class goes missing, he has to recruit his friends Pari and Faiz to be his sidekicks for the investigation. They weave around various places they aren't allowed to go—the bazaar, the railway station—looking for answers, but as more and more children keep ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line tells the story of Jai, a young boy who lives in an Indian slum and loves watching shows like 'Police Patrol' on tv. When children from his slum start disappearing, Jai gets his chance to live out his dreams of being a detective as he and his friends try and discover what has happened to those who have gone missing. Deepa Anappara paints a wonderfully realistic picture of life in the slums - the sights, the sounds and the smells so that the reader is most ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nine-year-old Jai lives with his parents and older sister Runu in an Indian basti (slum). When a classmate goes missing, Jai recruits his friends Pari and Faiz to become detectives to help find the missing boy. Jai is addicted to television crime shows and feels he has picked up crime-solving skills which he hopes to put to use. What starts as a game becomes more serious as more children disappear. The police seem indifferent though the community becomes more concerned. As a result, tensions ...more
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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.

A partial of her debut novel, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, won
“Believe me,' the badshah says, 'today or tomorrow, every one of us will lose someone close to us, someone we love. The lucky ones are those who can grow old pretending they have some control over their lives, but even they will realize at some point that everything is uncertain, bound to disappear forever. We are just specks of dust in this world, glimmering for a moment in the sunlight, and then disappearing into nothing. You have to learn to make your peace with that.” 0 likes
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