Rated Reads

The Golem and the Jinni

by Helene Wecker

Rated: Mild

I have sat here for a good while, trying to figure out how to start this off. All I knew about it, going in, was that it was turn-of-the-century New York City immigrants. And that the main characters were a golem — Jewish mysticism — and a jinni — Arabic mythology. Everything else in the story was a mystery left to unfold.

Know what? I loved it that way. I loved not knowing what was going to happen next, discovering connections and twists and turns as they came.

I will tell you this: it’s a fantastic debut novel. Wecker’s writing is lyrical and magical, and she captures the essence of not only her human characters, but the fantastical ones as well. The sturdiness of the Golem and her need to fill desire, the flightiness of the Jinni. One of the things that impressed me (aside from her melding historical details with fantasy) is she managed to have both the Golem and the Jinni grow in their respective ways. And not always together. It’s simultaneously their separate stories and their intertwining ones.

Which brings me to the end. There are some elements of the book that I wondered how they fit in. Flashback and stories that seemed out of place for much of the book. But the ENDING. Oh, wow. Wecker is such a master storyteller that I didn’t even suspect how all the pieces fit together until the conclusion was upon me (or maybe I’m just not a careful reader), and the ending blew. me. away. It was amazing and perfect and totally and completely satisfying.

If all adult books were like this, I’d probably read more of them.

Rated: Mild, for some awkward physical references, and some mention of sex.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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  • The Golem and the Jinni
  • by Helene Wecker
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: