Annie and Jak – mother and wayward son.
Jak is playing silly buggers when he steps into a nest of jack jumpers.
The first sting in the tale of his life trajectory.
Annie believes her destiny was unwittingly ordained through her father’s deception, long ago in the wake of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
Separate, violent events sabotage their lives and each is beset by guilt.
They hide from the world and each other for seven years, Jak in India seeking redemption, Annie in Tasmania harvesting resentment.
Unpredictable, like jack jumpers.
When Jak rings Annie about a plan, born from his childhood dream to sculpt a café in the abandoned granite quarry on Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula, she realizes he needs her.
Will she exonerate and assist him?
Or destroy him?
Reviews & Comments
Beautiful story, I loved the way it was delivered, loved the cultural differences, I felt I was travelling in India, a book that stayed with me after I read! Recommending to everyone I know here in OZ. I hope it will be on kindle soon, so I can recommend to my friends overseas.
This book is well written and jam packed with stories and remarkable settings. Set in Tas, UK and India it has people and places in it that I’ve never read anything similar. The only criticism I’d have of this is that there is almost too much happening …. I felt like it could have easily been 2 or 3 books there was so much to absorb. There are a number of threads and mysteries but all brought together with the constant backdrop of the characters shared pasts. Definitely a worthwhile read and an @janenaqvi is an author to watch.
Jackjumper by Jane Naqvi is an insightful story of a mother and son relationship which tests the limits of love. The author takes time to reveal extraordinary insights and details of an extended family set across many decades. It is an exquisite journey through parts of Tasmania, England and India, particularly the latter where the understanding of life and rituals in northern India are captivating, transporting the reader to daily life which has seen the ravages of time as well as momentous events in world history. A distinctive novel which I could not put down.
It is an intriguing and clever read. The author has woven two worlds together with such authenticity. The novel is breathtaking in its plot, and honest and brave in its self revealing. I loved it.
It is a great read. The writing is very now.
Jackjumper is a novel that takes you right into the minds of its protagonists. Every scene so vividly described you can almost smell the salty breeze on a beach in Tasmania or frying spices inside a crumbling ancestral Indian home. It is a story of our times, and times past, and you feel the pull back and forth of human choice, or geography, of the invisible familial ties that bind. It is also richly funny, and also beautifully poetic. Authentic writing that can have a physical effect on the reader. At its core, it remains a story of love, of deep human flaws, and the will to survive the poison of a thousand tiny insect bites.
Jane Naqvi’s visually appealing work (cover, structure and illustrations) is not only a cracking good story and an addictive read, but a passport to other times and other places, sometimes achingly familiar and sometimes far away and enticing. Shot through too with frequent sly humour and occasional outright hilarity. But above all, about crime and punishment, guilt and atonement, and finally and always, love and belonging. A book to have and to keep.
As soon as the holidays began I started reading Jackjumper and could not put it down. It was brilliant.
Jackjumper is a wonderful novel with unexpected twists and turns in the plot that will keep you intrigued and engaged till the last page. I loved the surprising elements and motivations of the characters; the description of places here in Tasmania and abroad; and the last line is brilliant!
Intriguingly woven together. The characters were many sided and so was my reaction to them over the course of the book. Loved it.
I loved it. Every page! Wonderful sense of location for the reader – I was there! Loved the characters, the writing, the story that unfolded … I was lucky enough to have the time to read it over a day and a bit … but every time I put it down to do something else (make a cup of tea, bring in the washing, send a text, walk the dog … I kept thinking about it all and would pick it up with anticipation. Always a mark of a good read – I felt somewhat bereft when I had finished it.
The author has a vivid imagination along with heaps of experience of India, Tasmania and … jack jumpers. The first chapter was a great build up with little hints being dropped. I can’t think of a more explosive date and time to deliver a speech and paper about the irrelevance of religion than India during partition and on the day of Gandhi’s assassination. I also loved the writer’s quirky and irreverent authorial voice. The juxtaposition of the mayhem of India with the yesteryear shack scene of Coles Bay is fantastic along with the extended metaphor of jack jumpers with certain traits of humans. I also feel there is something Rushdie-esque in the exquisite detail and playful language.
What a great story. Thanks so much for creating this wonderful work to share with the world.
The book is beautifully complicated. I was sated when I finished it, and bereft (yes, they can live side by side). The chronological jumps whilst set out clearly take the story in very different directions – and it is a reminder about how messy we are as humans. I love that there are talking points for reading groups.
Jane Naqvi’s first novel, Jackjumper, is a triumph. The plot is exciting – I couldn’t put it down. However, it is much more than a thriller. I still can’t stop thinking about the intergenerational and cross-cultural relationships many weeks later. The insights that Naqvi gives into the lives of the characters in India, Tasmania and England are thought-provoking and authentic. The author has obviously researched or actually experienced life in these places. Particularly moving and confronting are the descriptions of Gypsy’s visit to the Furneaux Islands with Aunty Win and Jak where she learns of her Aboriginal lineage. As the plot moves to India, the writing about the culture and traditions are fascinating. The story unfolds to reveal the interconnections of the characters – and a warning – you may be moved to tears as you read of the agony family members experience as a consequence of their actions. The book is beautifully crafted with an intriguing and historically accurate background to the plot. (Yes, I googled and learned more about the history of both India and Tasmania). A final warning – set aside a few hours to read this novel as it will quickly capture you.
Jackjumper can make you laugh out loud and this is an achievement in a novel that is deeply moving and many layered regarding identity and belonging.
It’s a superb read.
I am bowled over by this fascinating tale. Fabulous. The end of the story is perfect.
To introduce myself, you and I (Alex Bell) were in the same class at Fahan in, I think 1956. Then my parents took me to England where I went to school for a year and I don’t really remember you after I came back to Fahan in 1958. I loved reading your novel and I really admire you for its achievement. I was born in India in 1947 and came to Tasmania at the age of 5. My father was in the Indian Civil Service and his 20 years’ service there left him in poor health. He died at Kingston Beach in 1959, leaving behind his handwritten memoirs about the career he had loved in a country he was deeply attached to. One of our daughters transcribed the memoir and I published it several years ago. As a result of this we were invited to visit Odisha (Orissa) one of RCS Bell’s favourite posts and we visited India in 2018. We spent a week in Koraput as guests of the administration in the Circuit House my father had built in 1935. The Maharaja’s palace in neighbouring Jaipur had been built in the same year I think but was in a much more crumbling and decrepit state. Reading Jackjumper I recalled these buildings and the Residency in your book strongly evoked the Maharaja’s palace. Also, I pictured Koraput and Jaipur when you took us to the town of Khabinagar. I found all your cross-cultural references really authentic which of course they would be with your background and experience and being married to an Indian. Another thing that impressed me was your ability to be in the head of and speak with the voice of a young man like Jak, not to mention the involved plot and the humour. Altogether it was a very satisfying read.
To purchase Jackjumper
1. Direct from Author: Price: $29.95
If you live in the Hobart area, the book can be delivered, free of charge.
If you live elsewhere in Tasmania, or anywhere in Australia, the postage cost is $10.40. Total amount: $40.35
Payment details: Please pay by Direct Deposit followed by an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address.
Name of Account: Madeleine Jane Naqvi
Account Number: 30097835
Reference: Your name
The author asked Alexandra Pitt, Tasmanian teacher and artist, if she could illustrate the six houses in her mind, in which much of the story takes place. Alexandra brought each one vividly to life.