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“The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years” | Reviewed by Susan Ferguson

“The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years,” by Shubnum Khan, is a haunting love story,  a multigenerational, double timeline mystery full of quirky characters.

Fifteen-year-old Sara and her father, Bilale, have left India for the coastal town of Durban, South Africa needing a fresh start after the death of her mother. Their new home is a run-down mansion that has been turned into apartments. It is a boarding house full of eccentrics wanting to leave their pasts behind.

Sara is full of questions and begins exploring hoping to find answers to her many questions. What is the crumbling sign Akbar Manzil all about? Why are there giraffe bones in the overgrown garden? What or who is the ghost-like figure she sees at night? Why is the door at the end of the hall locked?

Sara manages to find the key to the locked room and discovers a bedroom frozen in time. She uncovers the secrets of the mansion through photographs and a diary. The diary is written by the second wife of the owner, an Indian expat who built and operated the local sugar mill. A djinn watches Sara as she uncovers the mansion’s past and its tragic secrets. Secrets that come to affect all of the tenants’ lives.

The story fluctuates between 1932 and 2014 as Sara uncovers the secrets of the house’s past and demise. The two timelines work well together, intertwined by the house and the djinn. The characters are well developed and add humor to the story. The story develops slowly, but finally grabs you and keeps you engaged. It is worth reading on to the tragic end.  


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