The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

The Golem and the Jinni - Helene Wecker A Golem is a being made of clay, created to do the bidding of its owner and able to be destroyed at the whim of its master. Chava is just such a creation. “Born” to be the wife of a wealthy merchant she is brought to life shortly before her husband meets an untimely death aboard a ship bound for New York in 1899. She finds herself stranded in a strange city unsure not only of what she is but also what is expected of her. At just about the same time that Chava is taken in by a kindly old rabbi who recognizes her for the being she is - a woman takes an old copper vessel to a metalworker to have it repaired. As the copper is being polished the resident Jinni is released. Having been “asleep” for thousand of years, Ahmad is as much at a loss in NYC as Chava. The two inevitably meet, but is that a blessing or a curse?

This is Ms. Wecker’s debut novel and in a market that has a glut of supernatural characters, her novel stands out as fresh and original. When I first started this book I was not sure that it would be one I finished, but I soon realized I was very caught up in the story. Not only has she brought two supernatural creatures to life, but for the reader she also brings late 19th century NYC to life. Throw in some Jinni mysticism and some Jewish folklore and this is one very engaging book.