“Within the first few pages, I knew this would be a new favorite…”
New / Old Flames are our favorite books – the ones we really think you should read too.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Reviewed by Karen
I have always been fascinated by folk tales and fairytales; they are the heart of a culture. They influence so much of a person’s character and give life to cultures. For that reason, I was instantly drawn to “The Golem and the Jinni,” and within the first few pages, I knew this would be a new favorite – a new flame.
Wecker weaves a beautifully whimsical tale. It intertwines the immigrant experience in 19th century New York with love and friendship. Chava, the golem, is brought to life by a scandalously disgraced Rabbi. Her life is meant to play out as one of subservience and submission. But the death of her husband – the man who commissioned her, leaves her without a master. Her voyage from Poland drops her alone and friendless in New York City.
Ahmad, the jinni, a creature of fire, is unwittingly released from a copper flask. However, he is still chained to the flask by the curse that an ancient Bedouin wizard cast on him. Fettered to the physical world and unable to gain the ethereal world he belongs to, Ahmad wanders the nights in search of freedom.
Chava and Ahmad are brought together by their loneliness. They instantly recognize each other as mystical creatures; finally, they have someone to share their true natures with. However, as a creature made of clay, Chava’s nature inherently clashes with Ahmad’s nature – fire. Their friendship, at first tentative, grows stronger only to be shattered by a horrifying event. Can this unlikely friendship be repaired? A fateful choice will have to be made.
Karen is our children’s librarian at Cherrydale Branch Library and when she’s not doing storytime, she also leads Lit Up’s awesome new Commuter Book Club.