Review of The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker


The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Age range: Adult

Hardcover: 496 pages

Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (April 23, 2013)

Genre: Fantasy/historical fiction

Source: Library

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

My Thoughts:

A breathtaking tale of two very different creatures posing as humans, their trials, triumphs, and the lives they affect. It was beautiful and epic and I only wish I’d read it sooner. I loved how there were so many characters who’s lives intertwined, often without them even knowing each other. I loved this story.

The characters were rich and real and I felt like I knew each one personally. They were each complex and interesting in their own way.  I loved the setting of historic New York and ancient Syria and the connection between the two. The ending was imperfect, yet complete. It left me hopeful, yet sad for several of the characters.

If you haven’t read this yet, I would highly recommend it!

Content: Some violence and non-descriptive sex. Nothing graphic.


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  • Reply
    Zed K
    January 22, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    I started reading the first couple of pages of this book but at the time I just couldn't get into it. After reading your review, I think I might give it another shot.

    • Reply
      January 23, 2015 at 12:19 am

      It's a slower paced book, but I really enjoyed it! The plot is very intricate and it all comes together in the end in a way I didn't expect. I hope you like it!

  • Reply
    Tressa S
    January 25, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    This is one I've seen a round but haven't read yet. I'll definitely have to get to it!

  • Reply
    Ten Historical Settings I Love - Batch of Books
    February 2, 2016 at 10:01 am

    […] Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker A friend recommended this book to me and I absolutely loved it. It takes place in New York in 1899, during a time when a lot of immigrants were coming to America […]

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