Review: The Golem and the Jinni, by Helen Wecker

The Golem and the JinniThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Helene Wecker creates a fascinating tale across cultures, mythologies and time in The Golem and the Jinni. The first of these cultural explorations occurs through the introduction of a kabalistic golem, created as a wife for a immigrant to New York. Instructed not to awaken the golem until he arrives in the new world, the husband ignores the rogue rabbi’s caveat, and in the moment of his joy he dies, leaving the golem adrift and frightened without a master to serve.

Concurrent with this, a Syrian tinsmith is brought an olive oil decanter for repair, and in his work removes some of the ancient inscriptions for later reintroduction. The result is the appearance of an arrogant, reckless youth who ends up becoming his apprentice and an artisan in his own right, a youth who is, in fact, a jinni.

As is to be expected, the golem meets the jinni. A tenuous friendship blooms. Their lives intertwine, collide, separate and explode, drawing with them the cultural communities with which they have become involved.

The writing is competent, although there are a few moments of point of view shift; the plot albeit somewhat predictable is entertaining.

Not high literature, but certainly an entertaining read. Not your average urban fantasy, and an interesting melange of cultures which have historically been at odds with one another.

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