The Golem. A clay woman built to be a rich man’s wife, the Golem arrives in New York alone, disoriented, and overwhelmed. She can sense the fears and desires of those around her, and must keep herself from responding, or else risk revealing her nature. Filled with curiosity about the world, she nevertheless longs for certainty and a larger purpose. She fears her own strength, and worries that someday she will lose control. Read more >
The Jinni. Released in New York after a thousand years inside a metal flask, the Jinni is a being made of fire, bound to human form. Freewheeling and libertine by nature, the Jinni is accustomed to following his whims, and chafes at the constraint of living hidden as a human. He has no memory of the events leading up to his capture, and longs to be truly free again, so he can return to the Syrian Desert. Read more >
Rabbi Avram Meyer. An elderly Orthodox rabbi, Rabbi Meyer finds the Golem in New York and takes her under his wing. He knows that a golem without a master is a dangerous creature – but can’t bring himself to destroy an as-yet innocent soul.
Yehudah Schaalman. The Golem’s creator, a failed rabbinical student turned powerful folk-magician. Schaalman’s greatest fear is death, for he knows the judgment that awaits him.
Michael Levy. An intellectual and social worker—as well as Rabbi Meyer’s nephew—Michael runs the Hebrew Sheltering House, a way-station for recent Jewish immigrants.
Boutros Arbeely. A Syrian tinsmith living in Manhattan, Arbeely accidentally frees the Jinni while repairing an old flask. A quiet, solitary man, Arbeely is forced into new territory when he becomes the Jinni’s employer.
Mahmoud Saleh. Once a respected, well-to-do doctor in Syria, an encounter with the spirit world left him in a perpetual twilight, unable to look at anyone’s face. Now an itinerant ice-cream vendor in New York, Saleh clings to rationality, refusing to believe the truth about his condition.
Maryam Faddoul. Maryam and her husband Sayeed own the coffee-shop that serves as the social hub of the Syrian expatriate community. Maryam sees the best in everyone, and is known for her ability to bridge even the most difficult conflict.
Moe and Thea Radzin. The proprietors of a bakery where the Golem finds employment, Moe and Thea can’t help but notice there’s something odd about their diligent new worker.
Anna Blumberg. A flighty, romantic young woman who works at the bakery with the Golem. Anna has a busy social life and many suitors — and perhaps is not as careful with her affections as she should be.
Sophia Winston. The daughter of one of the richest and most powerful families in Manhattan. Bored with her parents’ society and dreading the married life, Sophia dreams of adventure in the wider world.
Fadwa al-Hadid. A young and headstrong girl from the Jinni’s past. The beloved daughter of a Bedouin clan leader, Fadwa’s life is forever altered when she captures the Jinni’s attention.