The Kinship of Djinns
This British Asian novel can be described as “The Bronte Sisters meets Four Lions.” Set against the background of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair and the subsequent bombing of Baghdad, The Kinship of Djinns considers heroism and terrorism through the blackly humorous lens of sexual politics. A story of rivalry, betrayal and love beyond the grave.
It is 1998 in South London, and the cataclysmic events which will devastate New York three years from now are, as yet, unreality. But seismic forces are rumbling darkly in the trouble spots of the world, and foreshocks of what is to come can be already felt – even in the lives of the highly marginal British Muslim inhabitants of Balham. However, the Malik sisters – evolutionary biologist Sufya and dramatist Zarina – have other things on their minds. In their thirties and still not married, the two sisters are about to be reunited with their long-lost childhood playmate, Heathrow – so named for the Terminal 3 concourse on which he was discovered as an abandoned toddler. Now a well-travelled, award-winning documentary film-maker, Heathrow’s heroic return is causing great anticipation in the Malik family. After all, he’s still single, and he’s even a Muslim.
As far as their long-suffering parents are concerned, it is Sufya, the elder sister – the one who in her younger sister’s eyes always gets first pick– who is the logical betrothed for Heathrow. But as she – to her own surprise – finds herself falling for a man approved by her family, Sufya is unaware that Zarina has secretly loved Heathrow for years, and is no longer willing to settle for leftovers. Zarina is determined to overturn her destiny, even if it means resorting to dubious occult practices to get her man. But there is more to their enigmatic hero than either sister knows.
Eastern mystics warn that triangles are the dwelling places of djinns. What, then, might be the hidden, destructive power of a love triangle? In the black comedy of sibling rivalry, Sufi spells and suicide bombing that is to unfold, greater forces will reveal their hand. Both sisters will have to recalculate their positions in a world of increasing polarisation. And when Heathrow dies and the sisters are left to grapple with a terrifying aftermath, even the idea of death as the end is cast into doubt.
Agent: Cathryn Summerhayes