I’ve extolled the virtues of short stories many times and anthologies tend to center around a theme. This theme, of course, is Djinn, or Genies as we Americans often call them.
This supernatural creature, the Djinn, is quite foreign to me and I looked forward to getting a better understanding of what s/he is about, but I came away from the collection less than enthused. The stories were generally fine, but the tone and pacing was very much the same in all the stories and so I grew bored. Perhaps if I read these over longer period of time I wouldn’t have noticed the similarities so much.
One of my favorites in the collection was “Black Powder” by Maria Dahvana Headley. It is perhaps one of the more complex stories as it reaches through time and weaves storylines. It was quite engrossing.
“A Tale of Ash in Seven Birds” by Amal El-Mohtar about magicians hunting reincarnations of birds … a sparrow is reincarnated into crow, reincarnated into cormorant, reincarnated into hummingbird, etc … was really interesting and quite poetically beautiful, but there was no story.
“The Spite House” by Kirsty Logan stood out as being a little better than average. A half human/half djinn woman is a junk collector who is confronting by another woman who makes a wish, causing a surge of power course through the djinn.
Sophia Al-Maria’s “The Righteous Guide of Arabast” was a strange piece in which a man believes his wife must be possessed because she knows so much more about sex than he does. It was a story about sex and sex toys more than about djinn.
While I’m glad I read this, it is not a book I would recommend.
This book contains the following:
Introduction – Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin
“The Djinn Falls in Love” – Hermes
“The Congregation” – Kamila Shamsie
“How We Remember You” – Kuzhali Manickavel
“Hurrem and the Djinn” – Claire North
“Glass Lights” – J.Y. Yang
“Authenticity” – Monica Byrne
“Majnun” – Helene Wecker
“Black Powder” – Maria Dahvana Headley
“A Tale of Ash in Seven Birds” – Amal El-Mohtar
“The Sand in the Glass is Right” – James Smythe
“Reap” – Sami Shah
“Queen of Sheba” – Catherine Faris King
“The Jinn Hunter’s Apprentice” – E.J. Swift
“Message in a Bottle” – K.J. Parker
“Bring Your Own Spoon” – Saad Z. Hossain
“Somewhere in America” – Neil Gaiman
“Duende 2077” – Jamal Mahjoub
“The Righteous Guide of Arabsat” – Sophia Al-Maria
“The Spite House” – Kirsty Logan
“Emperors of Jinn” – Usman T. Malik
“History” – Nnedi Okorafor
Looking for a good book? The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin is a collection of Djinn-related short fiction that generally doesn’t appeal though a couple of stories do rise above the rest.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories
editors: Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin
paperback, 284 pages