Cover Image: Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

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Member Reviews

As a debut novel, this book has several high points. First, as many have pointed out, there's the clever use of a child narrator. Anappara nails the tone and style though she stumbles now and then with getting the point of view to remain credibly that of a child. Second, there's the eye for nuanced detail that likely comes from the writer's journalistic works in Mumbai's slums. And, finally, there's the satisfying plotline that remains tautly-structured even as it twists and turns to keep a good pace going.

That said, there are some challenges with presenting a well-worn view of Indian poverty to a Western audience and it's evident that the author has pandered somewhat in this aspect. While she eschews explaining or highlighting non-English words/terms/phrases, she is unable to avoid over-simplifying certain complexities of Indian society and culture. This may well have been advice from well-meaning editors or the writer's own choice. Whatever the case, for a reader who is very familiar with India. this is likely to grate after a while.

All that said, for a debut novel, this is above par and promises of greater things to come.
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When a classmate goes missing, Jai along with his friends Paris and Faiz decide to do some detective work to find him. What they find is much more than they ever bargained for!
Anappara gives a Richly detailed story of friendship in uncertain times. The characters are realistic, the setting so well detailed I felt I was there in India too, and the plot a multidimensional tapestry that takes some time to become clear. I enjoyed this one immensely!
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A brilliantly written book!  Deepa Anappara, truly imersed me into the story.  Thank you for an advanced copy,
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I was given a copy of Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara in exchange for an honest review. 

I really enjoyed this novel. It was definitely hard to read at times. I was surprised at my lack of knowledge about how terrible the income inequality and corruption run in India. Following Jai and his friends was a great way to introduce the reader to this world. It was so dark at times I kept forgetting that I was reading something current. It kept reminding me of the slums in 19th century London. That is definitely my privilege showing. I did love the kids. They somehow reminded me of Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione. All on their own search for justice. When I originally asked for the arc originally it was because the summary reminded me of It by Stephen King. Children banding together to stop other children from going missing( maybe even a supernatural force doing it ie Djinns causing it)...while all along the prevalence of hatred, fear and violence run deep in both books. I felt like Djinn Patrol was just as effective. The book also challenged me to read in a completely unique style and learn so much about Indian culture. I’m glad I read this book.
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An interesting tale of the number of children that go missing in India and the people who live around them. I found the writing to be terrific and did a great job of capturing the atmosphere of the markets in an Indian community. There is a large discrepancy between those that have money and those that do not. The writer did a good job in giving a description of the community and sense of how they react, or not, to the epidemic of missing children. Well done book, recommended.
#NetGalley #DjinnPatrolonthePurpleLine #RandomHouse
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Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is an eye opening story about daily living in the slums of India from the view of the protagonist, nine year old, Jai. The first 40% percent of the book was slow going for me. Although, well written, with a strong sense of place, there are many Indian words to navigate and the overall tone is one of danger and unhappiness. (Wish that I would have checked for a glossary at the beginning, as the e-version dictionary didn’t know most of the words I looked up.) It was heartbreaking to learn that about 180 children go missing in India everyday, with little help from police or government unless you are wealthy. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing with this ebook in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Deepa Anappara’s Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line was a pretty powerful look at magical realism and imagination and suspended disbelief as a coping mechanism for children experiencing profound instability and devastating loss. Based on the very real issues of politically sanctioned ethnic violence,  catastrophic climate change, incalculable class division and the vulnerability of the most marginalized of children, this novel tells the account of one young boy who tries to make sense of the disappearance of so many children in his basti through reimagining this tragedy as his own detective show, and also imagining a supernatural perpetrator as the true threat in his life. A book that takes you into the worldview and rationalization of a child who sees himself as a lead actor in a play that he actually has no part in, you see these horrors through the eyes of someone coping with a world so much larger and colder and more sinister than a child can really look at straight on. The sweetness and whimsy and also the resilience of children who make their way through so much danger and pain in many places and cases was so apparent here, and it allowed space for this story to be told not as a tragedy but as a reality that gave characters lives and ideas and identities outside of what you see in news cycles that feed on small narratives built of stereotypes and oversimplification. A coming of age story in a hard age to come through, this book hadsome humour and gentleness and also a very real truth to tell. Thank you @netgalley for the ARC, opinions are my own.
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A simply amazing read and one of my best for 2020! Based on a true story in India, as Indian children start to go missing from his neighborhood, Jai and his friends become detectives to practice the crime-solving skills they have seen on television. But when Jai's sister becomes one of the missing, the stakes become higher and the danger rises. Very well written and readable book, recommended highly.
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The title of this book is misleading, as it implies a mysticism that isn't central to the story. This is a story about poverty, about the hopes and optimism of children despite their circumstances, and about the ways we overlook injustices suffered by the poor (in this case the presence of a serial killer snatching children from an Indian basti). I love that the author wrote from the children's perspective, and I appreciated the setting---I learned a lot about a place I'm unlikely to ever visit. Readers who want a neatly-wrapped happy ending will be disappointed, though Anappara's ending is more realistic. Readable, with many light moments despite the grim situations.
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Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line was a refreshing yet haunting illustration of slum life in India, viewed through the eyes of a young boy. Jai grapples with the standard troubles of boyhood (difficulty with friends, parents, and siblings) while trying to come to terms with the mysterious disappearance of his classmates. When it becomes clear the police will not help them, he takes the investigation into his own hands, however reckless that may be. Throughout the story, Jai's optimism and self-confidence are balanced by his growing awareness of politics and his own weaknesses. This fast-paced coming-of-age story will take hold of your heart. I found myself cheering for the boy and his friends while at the same time worrying that they may be next to disappear. 

Jai is acutely aware of the differences between the rich and the poor, and he comments on them in the best way he knows how. Without having access to the "high-fi" life, and without having the general knowledge adulthood brings, he often explains things in his own childlike voice, which lends extra charm to the book. I especially appreciate the #OwnVoices nature of the book. Anappara uses the vernacular of children in India, without bothering to translate the Hindi words. 

Although this may not have been the point of the book, Djinn Patrol on the Purple line made me check ym privilege. While I knew I'd more or less won the "birth lottery", reading about Jai and his friends made me think about how excessive western-style living tends to be.
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What a fantastic novel! Anappara did a brilliant job of balancing the horrific events of multiple child snatchings with the narrator Jai’s bright voice, filled with child-like innocent for most of the book. I also appreciated how she did not feel the need to explicitly define all non-English words used throughout the book, allowing me to further enmesh myself in Jai’s world as I read.
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Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line was a "Did not finish" for me.  I just could not connect with the characters to keep this story moving.  I found it heartbreaking that most people did not even respond to the missing children, and horrifying the state of poverty most lived in.  It was eye-opening to realize how many in India's slums live - and the precarious reality of many children there.  Very disconcerting that so many children in India disappear without a trace on a daily basis - as more children began to disappear and excuses were made it made me feel like Jai and his friends were not going to find any answers, and instead were placing themselves in harm's way.
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Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara is an exception debut. The story is immersive, and Patrol is an exceptional story teller, her ability to write at a child’s POV and keep your attention, was masterfully done. I honestly can’t praise this book enough. Thank you, Random House for gifting me this DARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 4/5 stars
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Magnificent story telling! Set in one of India's city slums, housing Muslims and Hindus alike, children are disappearing. The atmosphere is described in perfect detail so the reader feels like they are there. The best part of this book though are the 3 friends (nine years-old) who decide they will investigate the disappearance of the children in the area they live. If you loved Behind the Beautiful Forevers you will love this book; great pair and compare. By far, my favorite book of 2020 so far. Starred review from Kirkus. 5.0/5.0
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“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 the “resilience, cheerfulness and swagger” of the marginalized children that she had interviewed when she was a journalist.  Those characteristics are captured in Jai, the 9 year old amateur detective, and his friends who try to track down why one if their schoolmates has disappeared.  And he is not the only one who fails to return home. At least Jai tried to solve the mystery, which is more than can be said for the police, despite the bribes that they received from people who really couldn’t afford to pay them. 

The mystery and detection part of this book was just ok for me. What I really liked about the book were the incredible details about life in a basti (poor area) of India. The author doesn’t bother to translate for non Indians so it’s like a disorienting immersion in the country - including the homes, jobs, food, schools, pay toilets and smog. For example:   “Quarter runs a gang that beats up teachers and rents out fake parents to students when they get into trouble and the headmaster insists on meeting their ma-papas.”,  “...he stops at a theka in Bhoot Bazaar to drink a quarter-peg of daru, which is how he got the name Quarter.” and “His nose learned to catch the weakest of smells from hours before – marigold garlands, sliced papayas served with a pinch of chaat powder on top, puris fried in oil — to guide his steps to the right or left in dark corners.”

The story is told primarily from Jai’s point of view, and he was a terrific child, but then there are also chapters from the point of view of each of the missing children. So, I liked the descriptions and the voices, but I’m just not that crazy about child detectives. Overall, I found the book both educational and moving. 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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Supposedly a book about children in the basti (slums) trying to find out what happened to their missing friend, it really is more of a stream-of-consciousness about the setting and thoughts of the inhabitants. 

I kept wanting the book to get better. The writing style is so full of non-English words and sing-song prose that it is a bit hard to keep up. 

Some parts are beautifully written, but then those parts are few and far between.

Overall I was wishing for more, and I only finished in order to give a full review.

If you want to read a book about social injustice in India, by all means take the time to read. However, I was able to glean the gist of the topic after the first few chapters, and I was left wanting a better resolution.
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For me, the vivid Indian setting was the star of this book. Anappara, a journalist, captures the myriad sights, sounds, smells—and complicated network of politics and power—in an impoverished Indian neighborhood. 

This is a place that those in higher castes would prefer to pretend does not exist, where residents worry that reporting concerns to the police will result in punishment such as the bulldozing of their homes, where a crush of population means knowing others’ intimate secrets and they yours, where the stench of refuse mixes with the delicious tang of Indian food, which we luckily get to read about frequently. 

It was difficult for me to get a handle on the tone of the book. Despite the mysterious disappearances of children that are at the heart of the story, this primarily felt young adult and light to me. It is told in young Jai’s point of view and primarily focuses on his outlandish ideas for becoming a detective (which are based on watching police shows), his youthful belief that he and a ragtag group of friends can quickly resolve the mystery, his often illogical and juvenile trains of thought, and his otherwise simple and age-appropriate concerns (Does he seem smart? How can he escape grown-up control and go where he wants, when he wants? Can he get away with clowning around in class? What’s the power dynamic between him and his two best friends?)

Late in the book, the tone takes what felt to me like an abruptly dark turn, and I felt a little jarred. The author’s note at the end outlines the often ignored life-and-death tragedies that inspired this work of fiction.

Random House and NetGalley provided me with a prepublication copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Even poor children in India like watching television detectives. Nine-year-old Jai and his best friend Pari have their first case. Their classmate, Bahadur, turns up missing from their neighborhood. And he isn’t the only missing child. They investigate in the slums of India as the Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line.

It is interesting to read about a culture that is rarely depicted in books or films. In the afterword, the author states that “as many as 180 children are said to go missing in India each day.” Each day! Why isn’t something done? Are they victims of a gang of serial killers? Are they being harvested for their organs? Or are they now slaves in a faraway land? The underlying issue here overwhelms my thoughts on the book. However, the book is an eye-opener. It even addresses the Muslim Hindu racism currently being felt in India and Pakistan. My only complaint was that the ending was not quite as closed loop as I normally like. But for the intriguing setting, the book receives 4 stars from me! Note there is a glossary of the Indian words at the end that would have useful while reading the book.

Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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After Bahadur disappeared, Paresh is telling Quarter about the police constables who demanded gold and cash from all the ladies and hit Buffalo Baba with a baton when they asked for help to find Bahadur.
Jai, 9 years old who lives in the slums of India, likes to think he knows a lot about solving mysteries as he watches a lot of cop shows.  He tells his friends, Pari and Faiz that he is going to solve the case and Faiz is going to be his assistant.  He creates the Djinn Patrol.

Then another person disappears and another and yet the police don’t seem to care.    Could it be a Djinn....no they are not real.   Jai and the parents of the missing youths are the only ones that seem to be working on the case.

A great read and one that brings to light the lack of concern for the underprivileged by the police in the slums of India......and elsewhere?
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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 up to enter a world quite so real and horrifying.

It’s a well written book and, I think, a necessary book.  It just wasn’t what I expected.

*ARC Provided via Net Galley
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