The Golem and the Jinni
By Helene Wecker
An immigrant tale that combines elements of Jewish and Arab folk mythology, Helene Wecker's sparkling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who arrive separately in New York in 1899.
The woman is a golem, created out of clay to be her master's wife -- but he dies at sea, leaving her disoriented and overwhelmed as their ship arrives in New York Harbor. The man is a jinni, a being of fire, trapped for a thousand years in a copper flask before a tinsmith in Manhattan's Little Syria releases him.
The novel traces their respective journeys as they explore the strange and altogether human city. Chava, as a kind old rabbi names her, is beset by the desires and wishes of others, which she can feel tugging at her. Ahmad, christened by the tinsmith who makes him his apprentice, is aggravated by human dullness. Both must work to create places for themselves in this new world, and develop tentative relationships with the people who surround them.
And then, one cold and windy night, their paths happen to meet.
A marvelous and compulsively readable work of fiction, The Golem and the Jinni is a fresh combination of vivid historical novel and magical fable.
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