Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Golem and Jinni by Helene Wecker

This title caught my eye and all I could think what was:  "What do a Golem and Jinni have in common?"  The answer is nothing except that they are both in New York in 1899.

Harper sent me an uncorrected proof copy of this book for review (thank you).  It will be available to purchase on April 23rd, so check with your local bookstore then for a copy.

A Golem is a Jewish fantasy character made of clay.  A Jinni that can come from a lamp is really a creature of fire but can also take the shape of a man.  It takes magic to bring the Golem to life and to destroy it.  The Jinni can only be contained by iron and can be killed by water.  Ms. Wecker provides a background story for both creatures and tells you the tale of the wizard who is now trying to find them again.

A chance meeting in a park and some conversation started a strange friendship between the Golem and the Jinni.  The Jinni began coming to the lamp post under the Golem's window on assigned nights and going on regular walks with her each week.  They are both "different" and they find common ground with that realization.

This is a wordy story with lots of detail.  I felt like it could have been more succinct, but really found nothing to cut.  All the detail comes together at the end and the pieces fall into place magically.  I couldn't imagine a happy end to this story, but the author ended it quite well.  It's not perfect, but creatures like them never have a perfect life; they'll be content with it.

I enjoyed this read.  If you enjoy fantasy and adventure, or enjoy Jewish and Arab folk mythology, this book will speak to you.  Give it a try.

Happy reading.    

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