Friday, April 3, 2015

The Golem and the Jinni - Helene Wecker

The Golem and the Jinni
Title: The Golem and the Jinni
Author: Helene Wecker
Publication Date: 4/23/13
Pages: 486
How I Found It: So many other bloggers enjoyed it!
Date Completed: 3/4/15

Summary: Chava, a golem, a creature made from clay at the hands of a mystical rabbi, finds herself in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century. Her husband and master died on the journey from the Old World, leaving her alone and confused. Ahmad, a jinni, is released from his lamp after hundreds of years to a life in Manhattan, far from his desert home. The unlikely pair stumbles through this unfamiliar world each trying to blend in with the humans around them.

What I Thought: SO many book bloggers talked about this book last year. Now I understand why.

Wecker weaves a magical story (no pun intended) in these pages. I loved the idea of two mystical creatures, each meant to answer to someone and fulfill that human's desires, finding themselves without their intended masters. Rather, they each, in their own way, struggle to find themselves while simultaneously hiding everything that makes them unique.

I really enjoyed learning about other cultures through this book, as well. Wecker wove in a lot of cultural knowledge and tradition. Before this book, I was completely unaware of the legend of golems and how they come to be. I found the peak into ancient Judaism and its dark counterparts fascinating. I also enjoyed learning more about the Syrian culture and, specifically, how each of these cultures translated itself into New York City at this time. Immigrant culture of this era holds so much nuance and so many different paths to explore in literature. 

Of course, there ends up being a vicious bad guy. All the pieces of the puzzle come together in the end and tie themselves into a neat little bow. I would not have minded a bit more ambiguity and disjointedness. Sometimes it irritates me when things end too neatly. Still, Wecker's ending fits the genre and the tone of the book well. 

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Yeah, possibly.

A Reduced Review:Two magical creatures in turn of the century NYC struggle to fit in and fulfill their destiny simultaneously. 

I'm proud to remind you that this book is on my 2015 TBR Pile Challenge list.  I'm so excited I joined this challenge for the first time. I am enjoying having some structure to my TBR and the change to make intentional choices about what I read next. Make sure you check out the rest of my list and follow the challenge throughout the year. 

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