by Helene Wecker
Pub. Date: April 23, 2013
Book received from: Publisher
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Fantasy
Cover: Just lovely. I like the simplicity, colors, and font used.
Characters: Amazingly complex
First line(s): “The Golem’s life began in the hold of a steamship. The year was 1899; the ship was the Baltika, crossing from Danzig to New York. The Golem’s master, a man named Otto Rotfield, had smuggled her aboard in a crate and hidden her among the luggage.”
Rating: So far: 5 out of 5 stars
Worth the read? Absolutely. When you want a book that demands your attention.
From the Cover:
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.
The Short & Sweet of It: This is not really a review, as of yet. I am not done with this one, as I have not had quite the amount of time to devote to reading this past week. So, I will definitely post a full review, with a link here, upon finishing. So, I will just say that so far, at the halfway point, this is one amazing story. Wrecker’s writing is a fittingly slow pace, but never strays from the story at hand. There are so many interesting themes and layers to The Golem and the Jinni that the final review is going to be fitting long for this weighty title. It is, indeed, a historical fantasy. But, at the same time, I keep finding myself forgetting that the characters are not real, because they seem so real. They are not living like magical creatures, but as magical creatures, wherein the difference is that they are trying to live within turn-of-the-century New York and keep from being discovered by those around them. The result is that they become very human in their characteristics and actions in order to make their way.
Simply put, if this continues as it has started, it is going to easily be a top read for 2013. Regardless if you are a fan on fantasy or not, this is one not to be missed. In fact, even if you cringe at the mere mention of fantasy books, I challenge you to pick this one up and give it a try. It really is quite moving and realistic. Generally, when I find myself pushing a review deadline a bit close, I admittedly skim parts in order to produce a full review. However, there is no way this story will allow one to not devote the time and attention it deserves- and it deserves so much. I can’t wait to finish!
In the meantime, check out the trailer:
For more info & to purchase: