cover image The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories

The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories

Edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin. Solaris, $15.99 trade paperback (356p) ISBN 978-1781084175

Editors Shurin and Murad collect 22 stories about the shadowy, fiery beings called the djinn in this unusual anthology. One of the best is the seriously creepy “Reap” by Sami Shah, about a group in the New Mexico desert that operates a drone in Pakistan, through which they witness the transformation of a young girl into something utterly terrifying. “How We Remember You” by Kuzhali Manickavel is an achingly lovely story about a group of friends, a djinn they once knew, and the fluid nature of memory. In Helene Wecker’s “Majnun,” Zahid, a djinn now living as a human, is called to exorcise from a young man the beautiful, ancient djinn whom he once loved, testing the bonds of desire. Maria Dahvana Headley’s stunning “Black Powder” features a djinn-haunted black powder rifle now possessed by a 16-year-old outcast called the Kid, who is on a mission of vengeance at the local high school. This one has a fantastic twist, both heartbreaking and hopeful. Readers looking for stories set in a variety of locales (even outer space) and arrayed over various cultures and religions will find much to like. Nicely rounding things out are a standalone extract from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and the titular poem by Egyptian poet Hermes. (Mar.)