The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

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The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Sat, 04-06-2013 - 4:47pm

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker 484 pages finished 4/3/13 pub in May, 2013

4/1/13 I don’t usually comment on a book while I’m reading it. Often, I read them so quickly, there’s no time or inclination. Sometimes, some books have lousy endings and that completely colors my rating of the book (Feed, I’m looking at you.) So far I’ve read just less than a fifth of the book. I love this book. I love the picture of the Lower East Side and Little Syria in 1899. I know from golems, but Chava is unique. I know jinni, djinni and ifrit, but not as well and nothing like Ahmad.

The ending of the book is completely satisfying, just like the rest of the book. Wecker left the door ajar that there could be a follow-up with these characters if the book is as wildly successful as I hope and believe the book will be.

I enjoyed all the time that it took for the characters to meet, because it let me spend more time with the characters getting to know them as individuals. Chava, the golem, is convinced she is a monster. I disagree; she is a good woman. Ahmad looks human, but he doesn’t think that way, nor does he make the effort that Chava does to blend in.

It made me happy to spend so much time on the Lower East Side and Little Syria. The first I thought I knew from fiction and movies, but I didn’t know about the dancing palaces there. Little Syria is an insular place. I liked how the center of it seemed to be Maryam’s café. I wonder if there is something magical about Maryam’s ability to calm and soothe the patrons of her café, and by extension her community. Ahmad works as a tinsmith and makes a spectacular topical map of Syria in the lobby of an apartment house. I would dearly love to see this, because the way Wecker described it sounds like it must be real.

I consider myself very, very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have read such a magical book. If you liked or loved The Night Circus, Mr. Strange and Mr. Norrell, and/ or  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay you may also love this. (ARC from Amazon Vine rec’d 2/26/13)