The House of Djinn

Suzanne Fisher Staples

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

It has been ten years since Shabanu staged her death to secure the safety of her daughter, Mumtaz, from her husband’s murderous brother. Mumtaz has been raised by her father’s family with the education and security her mother desired for her, but with little understanding and love. Only her American cousin Jameel, her closest confidant and friend, and the beloved family patriarch, Baba, understand the pain of her loneliness. When Baba unexpectedly dies, Jameel’s succession as the Amirzai tribal leader and the arrangement of his marriage to Mumtaz are revealed, causing both to question whether fulfilling their duty to the family is worth giving up their dreams for the future.

A commanding sequel to the novels Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind and Haveli, The House of Djinn stands on its own. Suzanne Fisher Staples returns to modern-day Pakistan to reexamine the juxtaposition of traditional Islamic values with modern ideals of love.

The House of Djinn is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


Read an Excerpt

The House of Djinn
1A small, slender woman with dark eyes stood near the edge of the roof looking out over the walled city of Lahore and reimagined her life. She had watched the seasons change over the red sandstone walls and the marble domes of the Badshahi Mosque for ten years. But this day she'd awakened knowing it would be the last morning of her old life.Behind her, pigeons burbled and cooed softly to each other as they settled onto their roosts inside a room-sized wire cage in the middle of the rooftop courtyard. She let herself into the enclosure and picked up one of the birds, Barra,


Praise for The House of Djinn

"Atmospheric and suspenseful...Western and Islamic ways clash, yet the author so thoroughly immerses readers in the setting that few will want to judge. Like most of Staples’s fiction, this work significantly enlarges the reader’s understanding of a complex society" —Starred, Publishers Weekly
"Eloquently written...Staples skillfully draws readers into the complicated web of relationships in the fictional Amirzai family in this fascinating tale of the conflict between tribal tradition and modernization in contemporary Pakistan." —Starred, Kirkus Reviews
"Splendidly drawn...moves along quickly and intensely with elements of intrigue and adventure, holding readers' attention and sympathies." —School Library Journal
"Readers will ponder the questions about responsibility and freedom Staples raises in the intriguing marriage drama." —Booklist
"The skirmishes, intrigues, and loves of the colorful Pakistani/ American tribal family give this book the tenor of a short dynastic epic with a touch of the supernatural thrown in. . . . Staples's attention to sensual detail (the smell of camphor and ginger blossoms, tuberoses and jasmine; the image and sound of the gardeners clipping ;monsoon-green' grass with steel scissors) and quick-paced plotting make it a thoroughly absorbing read." —The Horn Book

“Staples includes rich, descriptive detail throughout the narrative and incorporates details of contemporary Pakistani life.” —VOYA
"Through her stories, Staples presents the uneasy mixture of ancient tribal traditions and modern social and governmental principles. . . . She immerses readers in the local life with descriptions of crowded streets, rich food, garden workers . . . and shopping in a burqa." —The Sacramento Bee
"Staples transports readers into a land that is at once foreign and familiar, as matters of culture and family collide with matters of the heart." —Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Suzanne Fisher Staples

  • SUZANNE FISHER STAPLES, a former UPI correspondent, is the author of many acclaimed books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor Book Shabanu; Shiva’s Fire, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year; and Under the Persimmon Tree, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and an ALA Notable Book. She lives in Nicholson, Pennsylvania.

  • Suzanne Fisher Staples Copyright Virginia Morgan
    Suzanne Fisher Staples



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The House of Djinn

Suzanne Fisher Staples

Society of School Librarians International Book Award Honor , Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year