The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was recommended to me by a cousin of mine. He told me that he had read it recently and gave me a dust jacket synopsis of it. The tale follows a Golem, clay person from Jewish mysticism, that was brought to New York City and a Jinni [genie in a lamp] who doesn't know how he ended up there.
The history of the city and the different religious influences were well researched and intricately woven into the story making it rich and vivid, bringing to life the city that never sleeps. The book had me hooked before the first chapter was over. I was a little surprised about how long it took the two main characters, Chava the Golem and Ahmad the Jinni, to meet. They also ended up having (view spoiler)[ a spat (hide spoiler)] in the middle of the book that changed their relationship. There were multiple story lines that in the end were wonderfully woven together. The ending was not too simple or complex, not to tragic or romantic, and although the book followed normal patterns its ending was not overly predictable.
The only complaint I have about the book is that because there are so many characters and the stories are only weakly tied together at the beginning, it became hard to follow narrative transitions and some of their names, since several had similar sounding names. Overall, I loved the book. George Guidall, one of my favorite readers, read the audiobook, which certainly helped. Normally new authors don't get audiobooks until they're proven successes, so I was surprised to find out that this book was Helene Wecker's first book. I eagerly await future novels by her.</["br"]></["br"]>
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