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The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1)
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March 2019: Debut > The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker - 4 stars

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Joy D | 3093 comments The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker - 4 stars

PBT Comments: I know several of you read this as part of the Trim the TBR Challenge, but I just had it on my list of books to be read in 2019, so I thought I'd join in this month, since it fits the "debut" tag.

Historical fantasy based in New York at the turn of the 20th century, the Golem is a creature from Jewish folklore made of earth and water, and the Jinni is creature from Arabian mythology made of fire and wind. These two become animate beings and each follows a separate path to New York city, where each is mentored by a compassionate individual, the Golem by a rabbi and the Jinni by a tinsmith. They are drawn together by the ability to be fully authentic in the other’s company.

The book is written in a literary style, focused on characters, but also involving a layered plot that is intricately woven together into a cohesive whole. I found the beginning and end compelling, with a bit of a lull in the middle. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the ethnic communities and the characters’ excursions around the city.

This book is packed with insights into human nature, free will, destiny, freedom, duty, the consequences of actions, good vs. evil, selfishness vs. altruism, and, basically, what is means to live a meaningful life. I think it was a brilliant move by the writer to make these characters non-human, but still struggling with very human questions. It makes them easier to relate to a variety of situations, such as immigrants trying to fit into a new environment, or a “different” individual being singled out for their “otherness,” or the ability to form close friendships with those from very different cultural traditions. They struggle with questions of whether it is possible to go against one’s nature and whether we are bound to a specific fate. Recommended to anyone that enjoys books that examine the human condition utilizing elements of fantasy, fables, legends, or myths to do so.

Link to My Review


annapi | 4866 comments Yay, another fan!


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Wonderful review! I love this book so much and can't wait for the sequel.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7131 comments Glad you enjoyed it! My perspective of the book was very similar to yours-nice review


Joy D | 3093 comments Thanks! Glad to hear you all enjoyed it, too! I don't read much fantasy, but this was really different in a good way


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