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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Book Review: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert. A chance meeting between the two in New York in 1899 leads to an unlikely friendship.

“All of us are lonely at some point or another, no matter how many people surround us. And then, we meet someone who seems to understand. She smiles, and for a moment the loneliness disappears.”

The Golem and the Jinni is a dazzling blend of magical realism and historical fiction - it also beautifully incorporates two different cultures as a means to explore the immigrant experience in a really effective and unique way. Both of our main characters face the struggles of coming to a new country, having to learn this new way of life and trying to fit in. As well as the additional difficulty of trying to act human! And it’s all set in a beautifully vibrant time and place.

I was truly fascinated by the golem, Chava. For me, she was a much stronger and more interesting character than the jinni. She exists to serve a master and please others, whereas the jinni is slightly more self-absorbed. To make things even better, the supporting cast is also wonderfully rich with well-drawn out backstories - special shout-out to Saleh, who I loved most of all!

It’s a bit of a slow-burner, which I personally don’t mind, as the pay-off is more than worth it, and who can complain when you’re reading such beautifully descriptive prose? It’s incredibly well-written and I’m so impressed that this is Wecker’s debut novel, as she effortlessly weaves together all the strands that make up this novel. Perfection.

I’d recommend this to those who enjoy descriptive and atmospheric books such as The Night Circus!

Thank you so much to Tes @paperbackbones for gifting me this book, and to Brendan @brendanslibrary for the buddy read! It was a delight! 5 stars.

Johann
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1 comment :

  1. Thought this was a great read...glad to see the review

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