Jackie's Booklikes

Insights for the Booksites - reading mostly for my own pleasure


The Golem and The Jinni

The Golem And The Jinni: A Novel - Helene Wecker

An immigrant tale that combines elements of Jewish and Arab folk mythology, The Golem and the Jinni tells the story of two supernatural creatures who arrive separately in New York in 1899. One 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 other 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.


Each unknown to the other, the Golem and the Jinni 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.


My Thoughts


What attracted me was the color of the cover and the title. I love reading about supernatural creatures but I'd never read a book like this before. I thought the characters were boring and it had nothing to do with the Jewish and Arab elements. It lacked dialogue.


I will be going over this book in October. It took me near a week to finish since most times I fell asleep while listening to it. I missed a few chapters. At first the story was captivating enough and I wanted to know what would happen to the Golem but as the story progressed it kinda got boring and sidetracked too much. I didn't care for the Jinni's past with Fadwa al-Hadid [missed a lot of it] I think because I felt nothing for the characters I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to . It's sad. I also didn't enjoy how it ends.


Religion is a touchy subject area and unless you have a good understanding it's hard to please everyone. I don't know about what muslims believe a Jinn to be but I was under the impression that Jinns were evil. In this story I'm not so sure what to think about the Jinni. He didn't appear to be all that 'evil' to me even though the author infers him to be hot, dark, and fallen. He was selfish though, but Boutros Arbeely was just irritating. Nobody's perfect not even the Golem. I would've liked to see the Jinni show us what he was made of rather then blurring the lines of good and evil. Yehudah Schaalman, who created the Golem is the one who payed the price for being the ultimate evil one. I suppose for who he was, he deserved it. coward.