The Golem and the Jinni
By Helene Wecker
In a beautiful combination of fantasy and historical fiction, two supernatural beings arrive in New York City in 1899. The reader follows the Golem’s story from the beginning as she makes her way to New York. Being a creature made of clay and bound to a master, the Golem is at loose ends when her master dies enroute. She wanders the streets until she is rescued from a mob by an older, kindly rabbi who recognizes her nature immediately. Meanwhile, in another neighborhood, the Jinni is accidentally released from captivity by an astonished metalsmith. Thought to be just a figment of Arabic folklore, the metalsmith and the Jinni work to conceal his true nature as a creature made of fire.
The Golem and the Jinni go about their separate lives trying to adjust to this new world until they meet by chance and recognize each other as different. Since they can’t reveal themselves to the people around them, this budding friendship gives each of them the chance to really be themselves. They each have different views on the world and their places in it, which leads to some tension between the characters. Both are curious about the world, though, and are eager to learn about each other. We also see the inner workings of the neighborhoods these two creatures live in, and how the characters introduced ultimately influence the final outcome of the story. There is a dark force stalking the Jinni. Will the Golem be able to save him and the residents of the neighborhood or will they all be destroyed?
Author Helene Wecker has a writing style similar to Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus) and delicately weaves together the story of these two disparate creatures.
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Review by Erin from Collins Hill