The Golem and the Jinni

Helene Wecker
The Golem and the Jinni Cover

The Golem and the Jinni


The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

3.0 Stars

Two mythical creatures, one from Jewish lore and one from Arabic lore, find themselves masterless in New York City in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Chava, the golem – a creature made of clay, has lost her husband and master on a voyage across the Atlantic. Ahmad, a jinni who was imprisoned in a bottle, finds himself freed by a metal smith but trapped in human form. The plot centers on these two characters and their adaption to life in a world that will destroy them if their true natures are known.

The writing is excellent and the characters are well developed. The beginning of the book is excellent with well done descriptions of New York City's ethnic neighborhoods and the introductions to the main characters. However, the story lags in the middle as the characters seem to repeat their failings, misgivings, and daily routines, leaving the reader to wonder where the story was going and if it was ever going to end. This made the end of the book a relief, as something different and interesting finally happens. Overall, the book was worth reading, but would probably be enjoyed more by those readers who like eloquent prose for the sake of eloquent prose than those readers who enjoy a well written and interesting story.