The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the JinniThe Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1) by Helene Wecker
Published by Harper on April 23rd 2013
Pages: 486
ISBN: 0062110837
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I listened the audio version of this book when it first came out and I was captivated. This book was like nothing I have ever read/heard before. I will pick up and read just about anything but fantasy would never be my first choice. I got the audio version form my local library to satisfy a requirement on a reading challenge I was taking part in. I never expected to like it as much as I did. I read the description and lets just say no fireworks went off for me. But then I kept reading reviews of people praising this book, so I gave it a go. It is always such a pure and utter pleasure to be surprised by something. When something so simple as a book, can captivate and catapult you into a mystical world where two such beings exist. This book is like a fairy tale for adults. Beautifully written, lyrical prose and engaging characters.

Chava is a golem, made out of clay to look like a real woman by a rabbi who dabbles in Kabbalistic magic. She is made to be bound by her master. But her master dies at Sea traveling from Poland to the New World in New York City.

Ahmad is a jinni born of fire in the Syrian dessert. He is trapped in a copper flask until one day he is accidentally set free.

Their stories are told separately as both navigate their new city/environment. Both forced to live as human although neither one is. Both hiding in plain sight until that one day that they meet and sense that the other might not be human. But what are they? I loved how their stories merged and they formed a kinship.

The city itself is a character in this book. The immigrants, their struggles are like the struggles of the two main characters in this book. Survival and fitting it are priorities for everyone in this book – well maybe not so much Ahmad. Listening to this book, I found myself creating their world in my mind, imagining these two characters as they made their way. This book is like a magical mythical dream.

I find myself recommending this book over and over again. It is like nothing I have read before. There is magic in this book but not the hocus pocus kind. There is magic in the words, in the characters, in their cultural backgrounds, in their friendship, in what it means to be human(or not to be human as in this case)