Hameed & Sister

Two sisters are writing a novel together. Which one of them will win?

The Kinship of Djinns

It is 1998 in Balham, South London and the Malik sisters – evolutionary biologist Sufya and dramatist Zarina – are in their thirties and still not married. But they 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. A djinn is conjured. Bombs begin to fall on Baghdad. Both sisters have to recalculate their positions in a world of increasing polarisation. And when Heathrow dies in mysterious circumstances, Sufya and Zarina are left to grapple with the terrifying aftermath in a world where everything has changed – and perhaps even death is not the end.

Set in 1998 against the background of the Clinton/Lewinsky affair and the subsequent bombing of Iraq, The Kinship of Djinns explores questions of heroism and terrorism through the blackly humorous lens of sexual politics. Described by one reader as “the Bronte sisters meets Four Lions,” this is a story of rivalry, betrayal and love beyond the grave.

“This is an atmospheric, intriguing and quirky novel that pulls you in right from the first page. It’s full of humour, passion and the kind of original insight into the British Muslim community that you don’t often find in fiction. It shouldn’t be possible to pull off such ambitious political scope alongside laugh-out-loud comedy, but somehow the writers do and with a light touch which is a bonus. This book is something really special and different.” – Viv Groskop




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