The Golem and the Djinni

By Helene Wecker

Rating: 5 stars

Chava is a Golem, a creature made of clay, created to be a wife for a German merchant, around the turn of the 20th century. Her master/husband dies on the crossing to America and Chava finds herself alone, newly awakened in a strange place. The Djinni known as Ahmad was trapped in a flask and accidentally freed by a metalsmith in New York’s Little Syria. These two beings, from very different backgrounds eventually form an odd friendship, strangers in a strange land.

I loved this book. It certainly doesn’t feel like a first novel. It felt assured, well-written and confident. The world-building was beautiful, we got to know the characters around our protagonists as much as the odd couple themselves. Wecker brought us inside the heads of her non-human protagonists beautifully. Despite being such different characters, driven by different drives and needs, we care for both of them, whether they’re happy, in pain or about to do something really stupid. It was a joy to read, and I suspect will reward re-reading greatly, when I can enjoy the language and the words, without racing ahead to find out what happens next in the story.

The pacing is measured, as befits a book with a 600+ page-count, but never feels slow or unwarranted. Wecker knew how to use each word in the novel and did so to maximum effect. Beautiful, intelligent and moving. Unreservedly recommended.

Book details

ISBN: 9780007480197
Publisher: Blue Door
Year of publication: 2013

Powered by WordPress