Two very unlikely immigrants arrive in America at the turn of the century: Chava is a Polish golem, an anthropomorphic woman made of mud. Ahmad is a jinni from the deserts of Syria, trapped in human form. When the two wake to find themselves in New York City, they learn to pass for human while adjusting to a life that they never asked for. The charming story of their meeting, the trials they face in learning about their new lives, and the dark discoveries about their creation had me absolutely hooked--I read the second half of the book in one breathless, immensely satisfying sitting.— Andrea
It begins in 1918 New York as two mythical creatures, a golem and a jinni, awaken to find themselves rather out of place. This is both a lovely, detailed work of historical fiction, and a complex tale of self-discovery and friendship, redemption and revenge, and, of course, magic – both the fantastic and the everyday. A truly
lovely, utterly satisfying novel.
Completely captivating and very touching, The Golem and the Jinni is a tale of love and belonging with a touch of magic. The connections between characters, the inescapable destiny of large and small lives, and beautiful prose all combine to make this one of my favorite books. It's simply wonderful.— Nici
This debut novel blends Jewish mythology with Arabic folklore so masterfully and magically that you'll be engrossed instantly. A golem who loses the husband who created her and a jinni who finds himself freed from the prison that bound him meet and form a bond in not only the immigrant experience but against a threat in their turn-of-the-century New York City neighborhood.— Karena
This beautifully-written debut is set in turn-of-the-20th-century New York City and seamlessly weaves fantastical elements into the historical setting resulting in a magical story that somehow still feels realistic. Recommended for fans of good writing, The Shadow of the Wind and Spinning Silver.— Stephanie
— Nick Petrulakis, Books Inc., Alameda, CA
In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free
Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker's debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.