Review: The Golem and the Ginni

Novel by Helen Wecker

9/10

Short: Two mythological creatures hang around and wreak havoc in 19th century New York

Long: This novel is extremely complex, with multiple layers of different story lines that neatly come together at the very end. It takes place in New York, at a time when a flux of new immigrants are coming to the United States to start a new life. The two main characters are magical creatures named Chava and Ahmad. Chava is a golem and Ahmad is a genie. Chava’s master died at sea and now she has no where to go and Ahmad finally frees himself from a lamp that he was imprisoned in for several years. These two unique beings happen to stumble upon each other in New York. They each go through emotionally intense struggles as they try to conduct themselves in the modern world and battle with their innate powers and weaknesses.  Even the minor characters in this book leap off the pages with life and all have background stories that could fill an entire novel by themselves.

The overwhelming and exciting nature of turn of the century New York was captured perfectly in this novel and  it was a fascinating world to delve into. Wecker makes clever use of Jewish and Middle Eastern mythology to show that immigrants all brought their unique and rich histories with them when they came to the States. The book is a mixture of legends and modern day society and it shows how the two intertwine on a day to day basis.

 

Thanks for reading! Give the book a try, it will not disappoint.

 

 

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