- Release Date: April 23 , 2013
- Pages: 496
- Genre: Historical Urban Fantasy
- Publisher: Harper
Hey, did you read Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus? Did you fall all over the magical aspects, charming side characters and nonlinear narrative? Well, I did and if you need something to fill that hole I highly suggest TheGolem and The Jinni. I grabbed this off my library’s Overdrive after seeing so many people reading it on vacation and it was just my kind of book.
Drenched in Kabbalah and Arabic folklore Wecker’s debut novel is the unlikely story of two creatures believed to exist only folklore finding their way in the immigrant neighborhoods of 1890’s New York.
The Golem is a newborn woman made of earth, who is quickly abandoned as soon as she is bought to life. Hiding out in the Jewish populated Lower East Side, her only solace is trying to meet the wants of others without revealing herself first.
Once free to roam the deserts of Syria, the Jinni is now selfish, arrogant creature made of fire and smoke, who is bound to human flesh, and has inexplicably awoken in New York City’s Little Syria.
Unable to sleep, these two spend the night exploring the city where they will soon learn that their fates and those of the people in their neighborhoods are more entwined than they could have every thought.
Both the Jinni and the Golem have very big personalities that lead to a complicated friendship between them. Wecker has a strong grasp for creating and forming characters, the cast of unique and charismatic side characters will have you feeling apart of these close knit neighborhoods.
This novel gave me a lesson in U.S immigration. In school I always learned about the Irish and Italians but this was the first time I’d read about immigrants from the Middle East coming to America and the sort of exploitative exoticism they found here. Wecker shares a bit more in the back pages of how journalist romanticized these immigrants.
I like to compare this book to The Night Circus because both books ask questions about nature vs. nurture and much like Cecelia and Marco’s circumstances in The Night Circus, The Jinni and The Golem have no free will in there situation either. They didn’t choose to end up in New York City and they didn’t choose who they are.
The Golem and The Jinniis a charming quasi-urban fairytale. The city, characters come alive, I read the e-version of this book and the 500 pages flew by. I wanted to keep following the day to day know the intricacies and daily lives of the immigrants.
I think this is one of those books where it would be fun to go on a tour of New York City and visit some of the places the character go to; like the Washington Square Arch. The scene featuring the arch is a great scene and probably why it gets the cover.
In an interview with Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Wecker says she is working on something she hopes to be a sequel.