Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Golem and the Jinni

by Helene Wecker

While it's a bit hard to categorize this novel, I liked it and think many of my reading friends would enjoy it as well. The Golem and the Jinni is fantasy, historical fiction, fairy tale and fiction combined. It is a story made by the characters and from events in their current and past lives. This is not an action packed page turning book, but a journey through the melting pot of turn of the century New York City taken with a Golem (clay person from Jewish folklore) and a Jinni (mystical spirit of flame or air from Arabic mythology).

Both Chava (golem) and Ahmed (jinni) are bound to masters who are MIA. However, their being missing does not free either jinni or golem from their obligations, which leaves both with extreme limitations. Chava goes to great lengths to fit into her neighborhood, taking on a job with a baker and befriending coworkers. Ahmed on the other hand, while he does work, becomes increasingly dissatisfied with his situation and defies norms whenever possible. As you read about their respective struggles in NYC, you also discover their back stories and how they came to be where they are. And eventually golem and jinni meet, become friends and then devise a plan for freedom.

I have recommended this book to several of my friends already, but in case I missed recommending it to you, consider it done.

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