Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review - The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Golem and the Jinni
Helene Wecker
Trade Paper Back
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0062110831
496 pages

Advance Readers Copy


     Golem [goh-luhm, -lem] 1. Jewish Folklore. a figure artificially constructed in the form of a human being and endowed with life. 2. a stupid and clumsy person; blockhead. 3. an automaton.

     Jinni [ji-nee, jin-ee] Islamic Mythology. any of a class of spirits, lower than the angels, capable of appearing in human and animal forms and influencing humankind for either good or evil. (also, jinn, djinn, djinni)

     The Golem and the Jinni is a unique mixture of Hebrew and Arab mythology; a modern telling of stories older than the written word. A golem, a clay woman created to serve as a rich man’s companion, loses its master to a burst appendix on board a steamship headed to America. A jinni, released by an unsuspecting tinsmith from its prison after hundreds of years in captivity, tries to recall its hazy past. For both, finding their way and places in 1899 New York City is both a challenge and a curse. Disoriented and alone they set out to understand the world around them. How do two creatures, neither of them human, fit in to this strange new world?

     The golem begins her independent life as a baker and the Jinni as an apprentice tinsmith. Completely unknown to each other, the two creatures of ancient lore explore the unfamiliar and very human city. The golem, taken in by a kind, old rabbi, is tormented by the desires and wishes of others, which she can hear in her mind. Ahmad, named by the tinsmith who released him from his captivity, has no patience for the dreariness of humans. Both must work to create a place for themselves in America, and develop relationships with the humans who surround them.

     And then, one cold, wind-swept night, they unexpectedly cross paths.

     File with: One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, mythology, folk lore, Scheherazade, fantasy, and social outcasts.

4 out of 5 stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

Additional Reading:

The Golem and the Jinni Amazon Page

The Golem and the Jinni Excerpt

Official Author Website

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